How we counter food loss

We are champions at maximising fresh food sales. More than 97% is sold thanks to smart stock management and optimal storage. By avoiding and reducing waste, we reduce our ecological impact. And it also offers benefits from an economic perspective.

This initiative contributes to our objectives regarding

Published on 16/11/2022

Automated supply

The supply of fresh products in our stores – and therefore our stock – is in keeping with the expected demand. This way, we do not provide too little, because we want to be able to serve everyone, but we also don't provide too much, because otherwise products risk reaching their sell-by date and cannot be sold.

For most products, we look 14 weeks into the future every day, and for some even up to a year. To do that, we use software that forecasts how much of a product we will sell. This sales forecast is based on an additive model that combines non-linear trends with annual, monthly and weekly seasonal influences, public holidays and holiday effects. On top of that, we determine our own extra variables. From weather forecasts, promotions or a national strike to even the World Cup. All these elements affect the forecast and thus our stock.

Thanks to our sales forecast, our in-store stock is in line with current trends and expectations. A rainy weekend ahead? In this case, we provide fewer barbecue products so that less food is wasted. Thanks to our sales forecast, our in-store stock is in line with current trends and expectations. A rainy weekend ahead? In this case, we provide fewer barbecue products so that less food is wasted.

Tailor-made assortment

Every 3 months, we check which products don't sell well in our Colruyt, OKay and Bio-Planet stores. We reduce the volumes in the shelf, or we replace them by products that will sell better in a certain store or region. For example, bread references that sell too little - an average of one loaf a day per store - can be completely removed from the offer. This way, each point-of-sale has an assortment tailor-made to its customers, which results in less waste.

Check-out Bio-Planet In addition to forecasting our stock, we also evaluate it. Our stores align the assortment to the products that sell well.

Optimal cold chain

Certain products must be kept, transported and sold in cold conditions to avoid spoilage and bacterial growth. It is important the cold chain is not interrupted. By using liquid ice containers during the transport and when stocking the shelves our fresh and frozen products remain at the right temperature. This allows us to be sure they remain fresh and high quality, and food loss can be prevented.

Use of a LIC (frozen product container) when putting frozen products in the deep-freezers in the store. Our self-developed Liquid Ice Containers remain cool at the same constant temperature for a long time.

Longer shelf life

To reduce the loss of fruit and vegetables - both in the store and at home - we use innovative storage technologies and packaging that extend shelf life. 

  • Thanks to a 100% vegetable-based protective coating, our avocados dry out and ripen less quickly. This means they can be kept twice as long. 
  • The Boni radishes, carrots, fresh herbs and chicory get a new breathable packaging with perforations. This allows less oxygen in and less moisture out, and keeps the vegetables fresh and crisp longer.
  • For Boni's iceberg lettuce, soy sprouts, rocket and lettuce hearts, we provide packaging with an extra weld seam in the middle. This means customers are able to only open the compartment they need. The other part is not exposed to oxygen and can be kept longer. 
Packaging chicory with micro perforations The new packaging doubles the shelf life of chicory.

Boni tells a nice story

We try to process any food that might up in the bin because it does not look perfect, but is perfectly edible. ‘Any not-so-beautiful’ vegetables are used in our Boni enVie-soups. ‘Imperfect’ Magic Star apples are used in our delicious cakes, sorbet or apple juice.

Boni apple juice, apples, apple cake and apple sorbet Apples that are not suitable for sale because they are too small or have a damaged skin are processed into products for our Boni private label.

Raising customers' awareness

As a retailer, we take many initiatives to ensure that food products are not lost during production, transport or sale. And once a product has been sold, we don't want it to end up in the waste bin unnecessarily either. By raising consumer awareness, we also do our bit for that stage of the food chain. Through Too Good To Go-labels and targeted communication campaigns, for example. 

The Too Good To Go-label on our Boni vegetable alternative product (soy, strawberry) The “look, smell and taste” label on our private label products is a reminder to not just throw away food when the best before date has expired.

Thanks to the above initiatives, we can avoid a lot of food surpluses. Anything that does remain on the shelves, is given a useful purpose as much as possible through social organisations, is sold at a reduced price or processed into other products.

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