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"Food waste, whose fault is it?" by Bertrand Guély, retail expert.

Food waste: whose fault is it?

At a time when everyone has an opinion on the responsibilities in food waste, I just want to talk about education.

Do you know the can of peas theory? No, it is not a question here of discussing the different gadgets that have changed its ergonomics and its appearance over the years (and unfortunately the delusions of 'sellers' of marketers) nor of asking whether we have become lazy at the same time, cowardly and stupid, which is not impossible. Slackers to the point of appreciating the easy-open zipper on the pre-cut cover, present even on the first prizes now, the prize hunter no longer accepting to have to do a little more. For a slightly retro consumer like me, who still likes to get drunk on adventure and scout camp hints by removing the little key from his box of corned beef, that is a bit beyond me. Trouillards to the point of building up war stocks at the first possible pandemic signal, that we can store more easily with the stackable box without it ending up like the twin towers. Stupid to the point of associating the white interior lacquering of the said box with a Premium concept beneficial for the brand ... and its natural potential (we will complain after the drops in sales of the first range when canned and frozen foods are perceived as more more qualitative). Come on, giveaway, I won't talk about the text printed on the labels, the teasers of which are often designed for consumers whose brains are probably the same size here as the product they are buying. No, the box of peas theory is unrelated to these considerations but simply lies in the fact that boxes with torn labels - even very partially - do not sell! Be careful, I am not talking about dented boxes, presenting a risk of lost sealing, rusty boxes or Madame Michu, looking for a place on the raft of the jellyfish, is already suffering from both scurvy and tetanus, of boxes soiled with excrement in reserve (everyone knows that there are more rodents in supermarket reserves than in the annual banquet of the friends of Ratatouille), ... no, I'm just talking about discarded boxes because the label is partially torn. Of course, not all of them will end up in the trash, but you really want to talk about food waste after such a childish attitude of the consumer?

So let's take a look at this famous consumer, the very one so quick to heat the tar and feathers by protesting against the tons of food thrown away daily by the Mass Distribution "while the unfortunate are dying of hunger" ... With the pressure on margins and indicators like breakage and shrinkage tracked like milk on the fire, do you really believe that supermarkets throw away for fun or incompetence?

I let the 'specialists' take a hot dip in food waste and today simply invite you to open your eyes better during your next customer journey, to get an idea of consumer citizenship.

1- In the F&V department: look at the consumers who taste - they supposedly have an old law for them - before buying, who turn over all the stock and destroy the facings / rotations to be used in the arrival (without idea none of the previous buffer storage on the platform ...), the kids who pierce the bags under mom's complacent eye, even when there is no in-pack gadget to loot, those who fill full sachets for, frightened by the price per kilo, leaving them out of the cold before going to the checkout,… uh, the fault of the Supermarkets if we throw all that away you said?

2- In the Frozen section: a good number of refrigerated bins have replaced the overhead doors of yesteryear by sliding ones and Benny Hill could certainly have made a sketch of it. By the time the serving board finds the notch to slide, that it understands that one door drives out the other, see how many customers finally leave the freezer open once served. Apart from Hannibal Lecter for his sweetbread recipe or Eskimo customers, who would do that at home? Again, even if the furniture is designed accordingly, we will sometimes have to throw away.

3- In all the shelves - predominantly fresh products - where the products have a date. Regarding the withdrawal date (DR) and the best before date (Best before date), replaced in 2015 by the date of minimum durability (DDM), it seems that this brave Madame Michu still does not make a good difference and that ' is understandable enough with these concepts so deliberately vague, representative of a complicated standardization. Without wanting to fall into the delusions of the instinctotherapy of the ill-named Monsieur Burger on the one hand or make consumers look like a manager of a provincial mini-market who systematically self-consumes on short dates, we must be right. If exceeding the DLUO was synonymous with non-consumption, under the pretext of loss of taste or texture. the concept alone could explode food waste… and the number of divorces. So, when there is no other risk than a less tasty product, we don't throw it away. My maternal grandfather, invited by the German authorities to a 'nothing inclusive' stay at the Struthof camp during the Second World War, explained to me one day that the detainees fought for a crouton of bread and ate pieces of belts in leather. Strangely, I never throw a piece of bread ...

We can also wonder about the fact that we so easily accept the concept of programmed obsolescence for technological products (how, you don't have the iPhone 13 yet?) While we disapprove of it. so candid way sometimes for food waste. Watch how supermarkets 'present' short-dated products, loose in a bin and fluorescent sticky for the beggars. But dehooors the Romans!

Yes, I know, it's not very popular to talk about the consumer attitude when they don't understand, don't want to understand and leave before they understand.

The idiot, the abrupt and the elusive.

Posted on 2021-11-07 13:33

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