Nearly 50% of fruits and vegetables grown are wasted, and with an effort to appeal to the increasingly environmentally-conscious buyer, crafting your sustainability story can be rooted in highlighting food waste diversion efforts, such as the amount of pounds donated, how that translates into meals, and the environmental impact of food diverted from the landfill. In fact, 75% of consumers would be more likely to buy a product or service if the company is making an effort to be sustainable.
We’ve seen the desire for sustainability data to weave into company branding and messaging through our work at Spoiler Alert, an enterprise software solution for surplus food management.
Many produce companies already have efforts in place to minimize post-harvest food loss and waste (such as donating to local food banks or partnering with nearby farmers to provide food scraps for animal feed), but these types of activities are not always incorporated into sustainability messaging. Including specific data about your waste reduction efforts when posting on social media, speaking with the press, or writing your sustainability report can strengthen your storytelling.
Here are three ways to incorporate your waste diversion metrics into your sustainability story:
3 Ways to Incorporate Your Waste Diversion Metrics
1. Highlight your ugly produce programs
Whether you’re supplying surplus to your retail partner for their ugly produce program or developing your own program, sharing your involvement through your sustainability report and press coverage can be powerful. For example, Tree Top Inc. (a grower-owned co-op based in Washington) has built their brand around minimizing waste through utilizing less-than-perfect fruits in value-added processing. They save nearly 600 million pounds of ugly apples each year, which is a great metric that they can reference when sharing the results of their sustainability efforts.
2. Share food donation efforts
Do you regularly donate produce to local food banks and nonprofits? Are you tracking your donations? When spotlighting your contributions to hunger relief and fighting food insecurity, properly documented food donation metrics are important in order to effectively showcase your impact. Last year, PMA Fresh Summit exhibitors donated 258,815 pounds of fruits and vegetables after their annual expo and their ability to provide specific data of their donations helped strengthen the subsequent press coverage. Even non-food items that are donated can be helpful examples to include in storytelling. For example, the metrics included in this story about IFCO’s RPCs (Reusable Plastic Containers) to food banks were powerful and helped showcase the impact of their donations.
3. Provide landfill diversion success
Working towards sending zero waste to landfill is important to stakeholders, buyers, and consumers. Your role in the supply chain plays a big part in making sure waste is reduced in all forms (water, packaging, food). Loffredo Fresh Produce does a great job of weaving landfill diversion metrics into the sustainability section of their About Us page on their website. They’ve saved 57 million pounds of waste from going to landfills through their scraps for livestock feed program.
About the Author: Spoiler Alert is a technology company that helps organizations manage unsold food inventory. Our technology platform facilitates food donations, discounted food sales, and organics brokering. We offer the relevant accounting and reporting systems to capture tax benefits and document important financial, environmental, and social metrics.
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