By THE NATION
The retailer, who announced its commitment to lead in combating food waste in Thailand earlier this year, hopes the Lamphun Model will be adopted by other provinces in Thailand to help the country become waste-free.
Salinla Seehaphan, Tesco Lotus Corporate Affairs Director, said “Tesco Lotus announced our commitment to lead in combating food waste in Thailand in July this year. Our goal was that by the end of February 2018, surplus food from all of our 24 hypermarkets in Bangkok will be donated to charities for the underprivileged. We successfully achieved the goal ahead of time. To date, we have donated more than 1,050,000 meals to underprivileged people.”
“Aside from surplus food donation and curbing food losses and waste within our own operation, we also realise the importance of working with communities and other organisations to provide the support that they need for efficient food waste management. Lamphun province, which is the first food-waste free province in Thailand, shares the same vision as Tesco Lotus. That’s why we have worked together to introduce the Lamphun Model to help local authorities and communities in Lamphun to efficiently manage food waste.”
Tesco Lotus currently operates two mid-sized Talad format stores in Lamphun. Both stores donate unsold food to the local municipalities to turn into fish feed under local sufficiency economy project. The retailer has also provided specially constructed trash bins for unsold fruits and vegetables at four local wet markets, so vendors are able to properly discard their food waste, averaging around 2,000 kilogrammes per day across all four markets. The waste is then picked up by garbage collection trucks to be turned into bio-fertilisers. In addition to this, 11 trash cans are also donated to local schools for food waste.
Tesco Lotus adopts the Farm to Fork approach in its attempt to curb food waste in its own operation. The initiative brings benefits to all groups involved, helping to lead to true sustainability.
Based on the initiative, farmers will grow crops based on market demand, ensuring no oversupply and alleviating problems of low crop prices, while customers receive high quality food at affordable prices, thanks to a more efficient supply chain management. The business itself will benefit from reducing costs from food waste, and the environment will benefit from having less greenhouse gas emissions from food waste in landfills.
Surplus food donations by Tesco Lotus include:
lUnsold fruits and vegetables that are still safe for human consumption are donated to charities and the underprivileged, while inedible food is turned into bio-fertilisers. Tesco Lotus works with local and national organizations to manage the surplus food donations. On average, between 20-50 kilograms of surplus food is donated from a hypermarket every day.
lFood with damaged packaging that does not compromise the quality of the food within, such as rice.
lDiscontinued food products.
lProducts that have less than 2 weeks until the expiry date but are still safe to consume.
“Our plan in 2018 is to roll out food donations to hypermarkets upcountry. In addition, Tesco Lotus will continue to work with the government sector, other private organisations, as well as local communities, to raise awareness of food waste in Thailand and find solutions to reduce and manage food waste in our country,” Salinla said.