We're working to halve our food waste by 2030
Food waste contributes to climate change. By forecasting the food we think we can sell with care and redistributing surplus food, we can reduce waste at the same time helping to tackle food insecurity.
Reducing food waste in stores
By 2030, we aim to have cut it by 50% against a 2016 baseline. We take all available steps to minimise food waste. Technology makes our forecasts more accurate, and we only order what we think we can sell. And when products are close to their use by or best before dates, we offer them at reduced prices. So far, we’ve reduced our operational food waste in stores by 13%.
Redistributing surplus food from stores and sites
When we're left with surplus food, we work with partners to redistribute as much of it as possible. For example, we work with Too Good to Go, a registered B-Corp, to enable customers to buy high quality products at a fraction of their original price. We’ve sold 250,000 of their ‘Magic Bags’ bags through the app. Our stores are also empowered to give surplus food to local causes such as food banks, and have distributed 3 million products this way in 2020.
Morrisons manufacturing sites and distribution centres work with organisations including Fareshare, Company Shop and The Bread and Butter Thing to redistribute surplus food to where it’s needed most in communities. In 2020, we redistributed over 6 million meals.
When food cannot be redistributed, we send it to anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy.
Reducing food waste in the field
Our Naturally Wonky range sells fruit and vegetables that may be misshapen, have skin blemishes or growth cracks, or be much smaller or larger than average. Launched in 2015, it helps to minimise food waste in the field and offers affordable produce to customers. It also gives farmers an alternative route to market. For example, we temporarily brought potatoes from Scutt Farming, which normally supplies fish and chip shops, into our Wonky range during the COVID-19 lockdown. We now offer 22 Naturally Wonky varieties, selling 40,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables this way in 2020.
Reducing milk waste
In January 2022 Morrisons scrapped ‘Use By’ dates on 90 per cent of its own brand milk to help to reduce food waste in the home. Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year. And milk has the largest carbon footprint of these food and drink products because its production is so resource-intensive. One litre of milk can account for up to 4.5kg of CO2.
Morrisons milk packaging will instead show ‘Best Before’ dates to indicate to customers when they should drink it by - to get the best taste. And Morrisons customers will be enouraged to use a simple sniff test* in the home to check if their milk is still good to consume after the 'Best Before' date. Unlike some other fresh products, drinking milk after a ‘Best Before’ date is not a food safety issue.
Research shows fresh milk can often last a number of days past the ‘Use By’ date shown on the bottle. However UK customers are routinely throwing away milk - as they incorrectly believe the milk is unsafe to drink. WRAP estimates that 85 million pints of milk waste may be a result of customers sticking to ’Use By’ labels or ‘once opened use within’ guidance - when products may still be good to consume.
* Morrisons would advise any customer with a smell or taste disorder to use the ‘Best Before’ and dispose of the milk once this date has passed. Our ‘Best Before’ date will be the same duration as the ‘Use By’ date would have been on our old packaging, so by continuing to follow the date on the bottle, customers will experience no difference.