Shoprite uses upcycling to feed 3,000 cattle per day

By converting 1,000 metric tons of food waste into animal feed over the past six months, the South Africa-based Shoprite Group is providing enough fodder for up to 3,000 cattle daily as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability.

Animal Feed Food Waste
Courtesy Shoprite Group

By converting 1,000 metric tons of food waste into animal feed over the past six months, the South Africa-based Shoprite Group is providing enough fodder for up to 3,000 cattle daily as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability and advancing the circular economy.

The retailer is repurposing food products – returned from Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets to its distribution centers in Brackenfell, Western Cape and in Centurion, Gauteng – that are no longer fit for human consumption, thereby preventing waste from ending up in landfills.

Dried goods such as rice, pasta, corn products, cereal products, flour, chips, snacks and seeds now supplement hominy chop, a byproduct of corn milling, in the group’s animal feed formula. This has resulted in maintaining high-quality feed.

To reduce food waste, which has significant environmental, social and economic implications, the group applies a hierarchical approach. 

“Our biggest efforts go into preventing food waste and losses before they occur,” said Sanjeev Raghubir, head of sustainability and corporate sustainability initiatives for the Shoprite Group.

The group does this by reviewing its ordering, replenishment and ranging processes, using technology and data analytics to identify food waste hot spots. 

“Secondly, any surplus food which is still fit for human consumption is donated to registered beneficiary organizations. Over the past financial year, these donations impacted 544 beneficiary organizations including community centers, disability care, aftercare facilities, shelter, old age homes, orphanages and soup kitchens. This enabled us to serve 67 million meals over the period,” Raghubir said.  

Only when surplus food is no longer fit for human consumption is it then assessed for animal feed eligibility and composting.

The Shoprite Group is targeting zero organic waste to landfill by 2025 and, this year, 72,000 metric tons of waste avoided landfill.

“By embracing this hierarchical waste management model, we have adopted industry-leading practices to reduce, reuse and repurpose waste,” Raghubir said.

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