Waste not, want not: Delhaize adopts new shelf-stacking strategy

Summary

To prevent customers fishing for fresher produce at the back of the shelves and leaving older products destined for the bin, supermarket chain Delhaize is changing its policy

Soft sell

Continuing a tradition of innovation that has included insect spreads and ugly veggies, Delhaize supermarket has come up with a new way of avoiding food waste, and it’s as simple as can be.

About 130,000 tonnes of food is chucked away in Flanders every year, much of it because of the law that requires supermarkets to bin stock that is past its sell-by date. But many customers feel around at the back of the shelves for food with a date further out than the products at the front.

So instead of stocking the shelves with new products while the older ones are still there, Delhaize is simply going to wait until the older stuff has gone before bringing the new stuff out.

We’ve all done it: fishing at the back for the freshest products and leaving the older packages up front untouched. According to Delhaize, it makes no sense as most customers will consume the older food before the sell-by date anyway. In other cases, the sell-by date is a close guess, and the food can be fine for a few days beyond it.

So Delhaize will no longer provide a fresher alternative in the back, which will avoid so much expired food going in the bin. We could be on the verge of a food waste revolution.