Business Technology

Sainsbury's serves up new innovation drive to cut waste

3 min read

21 September 2015

Major high street supermarket Sainsbury's is hoping new technology can help the nation use food better.

The supermarket giant said talking bins could help tackle food waste, as part of a £10m project.

The “Waste Less, Save More” initiative begins today with a search for one UK town to benefit from £1m investment and become the “test bed for innovation”, to discover which initiatives are most effective in reducing household food waste.

Sainsbury’s said it would work together with the selected town on possible solutions such as fridges which can track when food is beginning to go off, talking bins that give tips as rubbish is put in them, reward programmes to encourage recycling and new packaging to keep products fresher for longer. 

It said findings and recommendations from this trial phase would be developed into a blueprint and made public in subsequent years so other towns and cities could benefit. 

Sainsbury’s indicated it would then focus on supporting the changes that need to be made to make a long-term difference and measuring the impact of the activity, with the final phases of the project continuing to roll out change and explore opportunities to reduce other forms of waste.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “We know that waste – and particularly food waste – is a big challenge for households across the UK and it’s something our customers really care about. Investing significantly in this area clearly demonstrates the scale of our ambition over the next five years and shows just how committed we are to helping our customers make a real difference in this area. 

“We’re confident that the project, which will start with trialling and testing in one UK town, will result in positive change for many more.”

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Rory Stewart, environment minister, added: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste and I congratulate Sainsbury’s for looking at innovative solutions to address this nationwide problem. Waste Less, Save More is bringing together a major retailer and communities to generate new ideas to tackle this issue. I look forward to seeing the successes from this scheme.” 

Sainsbury’s is looking for a trial town that has a population of between 15,000 and 300,000 and has a Sainsbury’s store within a five-mile radius. The town must also demonstrate a strong sense of community and be keen and willing to work together to tackle food waste.