The fight against food waste

Food waste is a major challenge that puts a strain on the environment while being a significant expense for Salling Group. This is why this is a high-priority area and we are investing in solutions and initiatives to ensure that we reach our goal: a 50% reduction in food waste leading up to 2030.

To create transparency and focus, we are the first in Danish retail to publish our food waste figures. They show that our efforts are paying off, and that in 2018 alone, we reduced our food waste by 1,200 tonnes.

A clear strategy on food waste

In a large concern such as Salling Group, food waste, however much we strive, cannot totally be avoided. However, when we can reduce our food waste every year by several tonnes, it is because we have taken on the challenge on multiple levels.

We are part of a number of strategic partnerships, in dialogue with suppliers and organisations that fight against food waste, and our employees are committed to the food waste agenda. With new ideas, new processes, new technology and a lot of good will, we can tackle the problem together.

Openness and ambitious targets
In 2017, we were the first Danish retailer to make our food waste figures publicly available. We also committed to halving food waste by 2030, compared to the level in 2014. That means a reduction of more than 21,000 tonnes.

And we are well underway. In 2018 alone, we reduced food waste by 1,200 tons or 3.8 per cent – while increasing the number of stores in the group.

Development in food waste across our chains:

  • 2014:  42,826 tonnes 
  • 2015:  35,205 tonnes
  • 2016:  33,364 tonnes
  • 2017:  30,963 tonnes
  • 2018:  29,787 tonnes

Bilka og føtex are almost half-way

føtex and Bilka have almost already achieved the goal of halving the food waste. Since 2014, Bilka has redcued their food waste by 4,017 tonnes or 50 %, while føtex has reduced their food waste by 7,003 tonnes corresponding to 46,3 %. But the fight against food waste does not stop here. The two chains already set out a new goal of halving their food waste again by 2030. This provides a total reduction of 75 % compared to 2014.

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goal on food waste
As the first Danish retailer, we have joined Friends of Champions 12.3, a network of companies that are contributing to the worldwide momentum on the reduction of food waste. Through our membership, we support the UNs Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve global food waste per capita by 2030.

Denmark against Food Waste

Food waste is joint responsibility. That is why we established a unique, national partnership with a number of Denmark's leading food producers and food waste organisations. Participating companies commit themselves to halving their food waste by 2030 and making their food waste figures publicly available. In October 2018, the initiative was handed over to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food’s upcoming think tank on the prevention of food waste and food loss.  

Find out more at

Partnership with the Danish Food Bank

From food waste to meals is the philosophy behind the Danish Food Bank, which Salling Group has been in partnership with since 2014. The purpose is to donate surplus food from our shops and warehouses to the Danish Food Bank, which redistributes the goods to disadvantaged citizens.

The goods are typically those that are approaching their sell-by date. They may have damaged packaging or spots on apples, but are of good quality and help many people in their everyday lives.

The Nordic region's first social supermarket

Dented tomato cans and crooked cucumbers are too good to end up in the bin. In 2016, Salling Group therefore helped to make the Nordic region's first supermarket with surplus goods a reality.

Today, we are one of the largest suppliers to the three surplus shops, Wefood, run by DanChurchAid and volunteer helpers. The Wefood shops only sell groceries such as bread, fruit and vegetables, canned food and milk products that, for various reasons, cannot be sold in supermarkets, the price typically reduced by 50-70%. The profits from the Wefood shops go to the world's poorest.

We swipe food waste away 

Netto’s food waste app, Mad Skal Spises, gathers all surplus goods across the shops and provides customers with an overview of how they can save money and at the same time fight food waste in the local area. The app has been downloaded more than 125,000 times.

Lower price as the sell-by-date approaches

When our goods are approaching their sell-by dates, we bring their prices down and highlight them with yellow stickers. In many of our stores, the items are even gathered together, so they are easy for our customers to find.

Organic waste turned into energy 

If it is not possible for us to sell an item or donate it to an organisation that can make other people happy in their everyday lives, the food product is still not wasted. føtex and Bilka stores throughout the country recycle the majority of their organic waste. Instead of ending up in the trash, it is converted into biogas or fertiliser. This ensures that the organic waste becomes energy.

Less food waste across the value chain

Our SAP IT system monitors our goods throughout their journey in the value chain. By focusing on the categories where the largest amount is discarded, we are able to find the causes of food waste. This makes it easier to find solutions to reduce our food waste in all parts of the business.

Surplus food in the holidays

Around the major holidays such as Christmas and Easter, we have different initiatives to ensure that our surplus food do not expire and go to waste. Last Christmas in 2018, Netto and FødevareBanken donated 36 tonnes of surplus food to different social organisations. Also, 85 føtex-stores also collaborated with local institutions.