POSTED: March 13, 2017 |
AETW | Event
Supermarket
Franz Jachim :: CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Flickr

Friday, 07 April 2017

CAN SELLING LESS FOOD MAKE GOOD BUSINESS?

A roundtable for businesses

Food retailers and manufacturers can contribute to a sustainable economy by helping consumers buy only the food they will consume, reducing food waste in the home. Similar approaches may also help consumers adopt healthier and more sustainable diets, involving lower overall volumes and less meat. However businesses can only do this at scale if the resulting lower volumes are good for profits or at worst neutral. They are much more likely to take decisive action if they can be shown to have a positive impact, whether through consumer loyalty or increased gross margins.

The underlying point has been accepted by leading retailers who know that helping customers eliminate waste in the home is good both for business and the environment. However there is much work still to do.

Examples of questions for discussion include:

  • what kind of proposition/product/service does this imply for different market segments?
  • for example is ‘we will help you reduce how much food you waste’ a viable proposition?
  • what is the scope for getting people to trade up to (smaller) more premium products ?
  • can retailers go further with smaller package sizes without reducing profits?
  • what are the opportunities with frozen food to reduce waste?
  • how can we go beyond overt waste to unhealthy and environmentally damaging diets?
  • what are the implications for manufacturers?
  • how does this mesh with the fierce price competition that exists?

This roundtable is designed to address these questions. It will not provide definitive answers but it will identify potential profit opportunities grounded in consumer insight that are worth investigating. Participants may wish to investigate these themselves, however there could be some questions, eg on government policy, where there are no competitive issues and which would be efficiently addressed by working collaboratively. We will discuss this with attendees after the event.

Who is this event for

Sustainability directors and managers in food retailing and manufacturing businesses

What they will get out of it

  • Ideas about profitable ways their businesses can help customers buy only the food they will consume, reducing waste post purchase, and move to a more sustainable and healthy diet
  • Possibility of participating in a collaborative project where no competition issues arise

Format

The event will open with a series of 5 minute presentations from participants, including Steve Creed from WRAP and Mike Barry from Marks and Spencer.

  • What has been achieved and what is being worked on
  • Relevant consumer attitudes and behaviours
  • Some ideas for taking this agenda forward (in two parts)

There will then be a round table discussion designed to explore some of the ideas. This will then be summarised and possible next steps set out. A report of the meeting will be published but individual contributions not identified.

Contact

The roundtable discussion is organised in collaboration with WRAP. Please contact us (charles.seaford@worldfuturecouncil.org) if you would like to attend this event, telling us a little about your interests in the event and your experience in the food sector.

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