Ron and Claire for Foodbank Queensland working hard loading up donations.
Ron and Claire for Foodbank Queensland working hard loading up donations. Contributed

REVEALED: What our grocery giants do with leftovers

GONE are the days where supermarkets would simply chuck out food that had passed its use-by-date on the supermarket shelf.

And with the season of food wasting in full swing, it's important to know which retailers are making an effort to stop good food from going to landfill.

The Sunshine Coast Daily contacted the three big market players, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi to provide insight as to what's happening with their leftovers.

Woolworths uncovered:

Woolworths, which set ambitious targets for reducing its food to waste ratio in 2015, has made enormous strides this year.

For the first time, the supermarket has partnered its Maroochydore Plaza store with OzHarvest's REAP program.

This program aims to "support a growing number of people seeking hunger relief"

"We also have local charity organisations that many stores on the Sunshine Coast donate to on an ad-hoc basis," a Woolworths spokesman said.

"In Queensland we also have over 80% of stores with a registered farmer collecting potential fresh food waste from our stores.

"On the Sunshine Coast, this is almost 100%."

A national roll-out of Commercial Organic Waste Systems has also seen the amount of food ending up in landfill reduced.

  • From July to October 2015, 631,045 kilograms from 92 Queensland stores was diverted from landfill.
  • From July to October 2016, 980,628 kgs from 129 Queensland stores has been diverted from landfill.
  • Since September 2015, OzHarvest has rescued over 1,000,000 kilograms of food nationally from Woolworths supermarkets, which is growing fat 7000kgs a month.

Coles uncovered:

Coles also says it is "taking food wastage seriously" and it partnered with not-profit organisations SecondBite and Foodbank to provide meals to those in need and reduce food waste.

  • Through this program, Coles has donated more than 15 million kilograms of fresh food to disadvantaged Australians since it launched in the 2011, and average of 3 million a year.
  • On the Sunshine Coast, Coles has donated more than 420,000kg to local organisations including Gateway Care Centre, Noosa Christian Outreach Church and Caboolture Community Action Group.
  • In the 2016 financial year, Coles increased its volume of material recycled from "70% to 72%".


Aldi uncovered:

No surprises, German retailer Aldi is also "committed to minimising food wastage" and has a number of processes and policies in place to ensure a minimal amount ends up as waste.

On a national level, Aldi partners with three food rescue charities, OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank.

These organisations accept a number of items as long as they are not damaged, the package was not tampered with and, "if relevant, has not passed its food by date".

Aldi also works with local churches, farmers and "smaller community based charities to donate food".

  • Around 256 tonnes of food (256,000 litres been donated in 2016 from Aldi's Brendale distribution network, which includes the Sunshine Coast).
  • Nationwide since 2015, Aldi has diverted 6000 tonnes of food from landfills by donating them to charitable organisations.

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