Meijer’s Rollout of Flashfood Waste Reduction Program Sees Finish Line in 2021

by | Feb 18, 2021

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Grand Rapids, Michigan-based grocery retailer Meijer is expanding its Flashfood waste reduction program, planning to complete implementation across all 256 supercenters and grocery stores this year. The program allows customers to use an app to purchase food nearing its sell-by date at up to 50% off, thereby reducing in-store food waste.

Flashfood is a Canadian-based company that allows retailers to upload surplus, close-dated foods to the app where food items are available for purchase at a deep discount. Customers go to the app, select a Meijer store, choose the items they want to purchase and pay for them directly on the app. They then pick up the items at the store.

The retailer launched the app-based pilot program in November, 2019, at a handful of Meijer supercenters in Metro Detroit. After reducing in-store food waste by 10%, Meijer opted to expand the offering to all its stores across the Midwest. To date, an estimated 240 Meijer supercenters have Flashfood. While the company expected the program to be rolled out to all stores in 2020, Covid-19 caused delays, the company says.

Meijer has cut food waste in other ways, as well. Waste created during the manufacturing process at some of its dairies is being turned into animal feed, while fresh food byproducts are sent for anaerobic digestion and are also being turned into compost, the company says.

Nonprofit Refed said in 2018 that food waste costs retailers about $18.2 billion a year and that food retailers generate eight million tons of food waste a year (via Grocery Dive). And a third of all food produced worldwide never gets consumed — about 1.3 billion metric tons in all, according to the Consumer Goods Forum.

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