Food waste has a heavy impact on climate change. That’s why reducing the loss of food is a topic we take very seriously at Arla.
On our core markets, most food waste actually occurs when the products have reached consumers. It is tricky for us to address this as we have a limited control over this part of the value chain compared to what happens in production, for example.
Nevertheless, we are looking into every single opportunity to inspire consumers to eat every last bit of our wonderful products instead of throwing them away.
"By giving our consumers tips and tricks for using leftovers, weekly dinner plans, and climate friendly recipes on our websites, we hope to engage them. It is not enough though, we need to make it easy to waste as little as possible."
Anna-Karin Modin Edman
Sustainability Manager at Arla
One way we are helping is to design packaging which is easy to fold and fully empty. We also offer different package sizes to enable consumers to match their purchase with their needs. Furthermore, we are putting a lot of focus on how to maximize the freshness and shelf life of our products.
In Denmark and Sweden, we are changing the date labelling on milk cartons and other fresh dairy products from only stating “Best before” to also adding “Often good after” in order to nuance the consumers’ relation to durability so that good products do not end up in the sink.
Adressing food waste in production
In our own production chain, we work hard to deliver on our goal of zero waste. We have an ambitious programme mapping and addressing food waste, and with the help of local food waste ambassadors at the dairies, we spread best practice and foster continuous improvement.
At Pronsfeld dairy in Germany, we have for example spent two years working to reduce the load to the waste water plant resulting in 40 per cent less dairy products and raw materials now being flushed out.
Innovation is also key to find ways of treating by-products and surplus products as a resource to be reprocessed into new product, where possible.
Donating and reusing surplus products
When we cannot avoid surplus products, we prefer to donate them to charity where they can improve dietary quality for fellow citizens in need. We also send significant amounts of by-products to biogas, where it is turned into renewable energy and the biogas digestate can be returned to agriculture as nutritious fertiliser.