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Ocado reveals near zero food waste level

29 March 2018

Online supermarket Ocado has published its food waste figures, revealing a figure of 0.02%, or 1 in 6,000 food items wasted.

Suzanne Westlake, head of corporate responsibility at Ocado said: “By continually improving our technology, processes, and our relationships with suppliers, we’ve been able to reduce our food waste to practically zero.”

The online retailer packs every bag of shopping in one of its three futuristic warehouses. Chilled food is kept at the correct temperature, from supplier to the customer’s doorstep, which also helps keep products fresher for longer. This highly efficient business model, coupled with a ferocious commitment to fighting food waste, is the reason why the retailer’s food waste is so low.

Contributing factors are:

  • A shorter supply chain – products come straight from the supplier to the CFC and are packed into shopping bags there, before being sent out direct to the customer, or to a spoke for delivery the same day.
  • Fewer locations – Ocado has three CFCs where all shopping is packed. Forecasting for fewer locations comes with much less risk of food waste than hundreds of bricks and mortar stores.
  • Controlled temperatures – chilled products arrive from the supplier at the correct temperature, a whole section of each CFC is refrigerated, and the vans are refrigerated too, which helps extend product life and reduce waste.
  • Bespoke software – nobody wants damaged products; Ocado’s software calculates how to pack items to reduce product damage and decrease food waste.
  • Packaging – Ocado works with suppliers to make sure products arrive in packaging suitable for automated processes, which reduces damage to products and waste.
  • Continual optimisation – a culture of testing, reviewing and implementing change in software and logistics internally and with suppliers creates a positive environment to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

 
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