Pick n Pay demonstrates how a circular food economy could work.

It is expected that 13 million South Africans experience hunger in South Africa each day, yet a third of the world’s food is waste – more than enough to eradicate world hunger.

These figures reveal the massive opportunity to reduce hunger levels in the country by effectively managing excess food and redirecting safe edible food for human consumption rather than sending and food to landfills.

According to a WWF report, there are various stages in the food value chain in South Africa that generate food waste and retailers account for 20%.

Andre Nel, General Manager Sustainability at Pick n Pay, says this is a strong focus for the company. “As a food retailer, we are very aware of this issue. By dealing more comprehensively with waste management, we’re able to make a real difference.”

In 2015, the retailer set various goals to deliver significant shifts in waste reduction by 2020, including diverting 20% of its food waste from landfill.

They have partnered with various organisations to meet this goal. Its longstanding partnership with FoodForward SA saw the donation of over 1600 tonnes of surplus edible food for redistribution in its previous financial year. This amounts up to 50% of FoodForward SA’s total tonnage donated and equates to more than seven million meals annually or 20 000 meals that are donated to people in need every day.

Nel said that Pick n Pay was committed to finding new ways of dealing with excess food. Last year, they partnered with the Waste to Food social enterprise project. This innovative Philippi-based project makes use of technology to convert excess organic waste into high-grade compost, through a combination of in-vessel composting and vermi-composting. The compost is then sold at Pick n Pay stores.

“In a short space of time the project has already helped some of our stores divert an additional 10-20% of food waste from landfill.

After an initial trial period where the compost was sold in only a few stores, customers in the Western Cape can expect the first batch of high-grade Waste to Food compost on the shelves of many more stores from mid-November 2018, says Nel. “This project is an innovative example of what a closed loop food system could look like, where excess food – instead of going to landfill – becomes compost, which is then again used to grow food.



Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Pick n Pay