Supermarket leftovers become treats for zoo animals


Supermarket chain Delhaize will supply animals at the Planckendael park in Mechelen with leftover fruits and vegetables

Feeding time

The subject of food waste comes up from time to time, and there’s no shortage of initiatives to combat the problem, from supermarkets donating to food banks to court cases over dumpster-diving to supermarkets refusing to re-stock shelves with new products before the old ones are sold out.

The latest in a long line of great ideas comes from Delhaize, which will supply the Planckendael animal park in Mechelen with leftover fruits and vegetables for the animals. “We’ve been working for years with food banks and local organisation to share unsold products with people who need help, while fighting the problem of food waste,” a spokesperson for the chain said.

The company’s priority remains aid to humans, but there are categories that the federal food safety agency has decreed many not be passed on for human consumption, such as products that are expired.

In the case of Planckendael, the produce is over-ripe or bruised, for example, which doesn’t appeal to humans. An elephant, however, is less likely to be picky.  The plan aims to deliver 20 tonnes of fruit and vegetables a year – which would otherwise end up in landfill – and forms part of the supermarket’s target to find a good home by 2020 for 100% of all food waste. 

Photo: Eddy Van 3000/flickr