Food Donation

How Stop Waste Together Gives Back in Times of Uncertainty

How Stop Waste Together Gives Back in Times of Uncertainty 800 495 Natalie Tatum

Did you know that $165 billion worth of food is wasted each year in the US, or that 40% of the food produced in the US goes uneaten? Food waste happens at home and various stages of the supply chain. Unfortunately, some of it also comes from food expiring on the shelves of grocery stores. 

Stop Waste Together is a non-profit initiative sponsored by Pinpoint Software. When paired with our expiration date management software, Date Check Pro, retailers are able to proactively track inventory expiration dates and work together with their shoppers to minimize food waste and maximize savings for everyone.

Our focus is on helping retailers promote the sale of soon-to-expire items and raising awareness of their efforts to shoppers. In this partnership between retailers and shoppers, we can maximize both food waste prevention and shopper savings. But it doesn’t end there. Every year, Stop Waste Together donates 100% of the profits earned from the sale of coupons and aisle signage our grocery partners use to promote the sale of these soon-to-expire items. 

Blessings in a Backpack is a non-profit organization that feeds school children in the United States who currently are fed during the week on the federally funded Free and Reduced Meal Program and are at risk of going hungry on the weekends

In 2019, Stop Waste Together raised $2,620, which we are proud to be donating to Blessings in a Backpack, a great organization working even harder right now to support children in need while school lunch programs are not as readily available.

To further support our local communities, Pinpoint issued a challenge to our small team to make individual donations, which would be matched dollar for dollar by Pinpoint. The team raised $575 dollars, which combined with the company match and 2019 SWT profits brings our total donation to $3,770.

To learn more about Stop Waste Together, please visit our site here.

Beyond Cooking Classes: How 3 Grocers are Changing What it Means to be a Community Grocer

Beyond Cooking Classes: How 3 Grocers are Changing What it Means to be a Community Grocer 720 480 Emma Leuman

Grocery stores have always served as community hubs, places where people could run into a neighbor or a friendly face while doing the week’s shopping. Grocers have been known to host events like cooking classes and food drives in order to foster those customer relationships, and it’s never been too difficult to convert someone into a loyal customer once they’ve developed that link to a store.

Now, mega-companies like Amazon and Walmart are looming over the grocery industry with convenience and big data, creating renewed pressure for grocers to develop a connection with their community in order to stay ahead.

Those cooking classes and food drives just aren’t cutting it anymore in the quest to serve communities in a meaningful way. Becoming a true community grocer is a necessity to thrive in this industry in 2020 and beyond, and there are a few grocers who are setting the standard for all of the rest. In this post, we’ll share a few examples of grocery retailers who are inspiring us with their commitment to community.

 

What is a community grocer?

A community grocer is a person who sells food and small household goods while maintaining a commitment to the wellbeing of their community and a personalized customer experience.

That definition is short and sweet, but it’s a genuine departure from the standard grocery experience. It encompasses a broader expectation that customers have now in regards to retail, that the experience of shopping in your store be just as important as the products you sell and the prices you set.

 

Community grocers will have a distinct advantage in 2020. Click here to download your ultimate guide to fostering a connection between your stores and your community.

 

To keep a customer coming into your local store instead of turning to large retailers like Amazon and Walmart, you have to emphasize the neighborhood factor, and implement programs and events that actually make a positive impact on your community, benefitting real people in a real way that goes beyond teaching them to cook with ingredients from your store.

 

3 community grocer success stories that inspired us

H-E-B and their Emergency Preparedness Department

H-E-B is a well-known grocer based in Texas, and, with a tagline like “No Store Does More” it’s easy to see why we’d choose to feature them in a post all about community grocers. H-E-B is a household name in their region, spanning across one of the largest states in America and developing an almost fan-like following because of their commitment to their communities.

One example of how H-E-B is changing what it means to be a community grocer is their Emergency Preparedness Department. As a grocer located in an area of the country that is frequently targeted by natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, H-E-B decided to create this department with the express interest in proactively preparing for instances where members of their community would not have access to food.

Among H-E-B’s emergency preparedness resources are three mobile kitchens and two water tankers, vehicles that allow the grocer to access communities who may have been cut off from critical roadways during an emergency. With this equipment at their disposal, the Emergency Preparedness Department can provide crucial food and water to members of their community that find themselves in peril.

The H-E-B Emergency Preparedness Department is not just a pop-up initiative that is brought back to life whenever a natural disaster occurs, it’s an ongoing part of their corporate structure, which shows their commitment to serving their community throughout the year. The grocer creates content that continuously educates and informs their community about how to prepare for an emergency, and provides real-time data about which stores are open and closed should an emergency arise. That’s what it means to be a community grocer today.

 

Whole Foods and their Community Giving Days

Whole Foods is another grocer with a great reputation nationwide, and not only for their great produce selection and recognizable branding. The company (though now owned by Amazon) has made a name for themselves by adhering to the concept of being a community grocer through dedicated efforts within the neighborhoods that they serve.

As an organization, they give each store autonomy to run their businesses in a way that makes the most sense for the area. That notion alone is one that many grocers can take away from this post and bring to life in their stores. What’s best for one store may not be for another across town.

One way that Whole Foods is accomplishing the goal of being a community grocer is through their Community Giving Days. Several times a year, Whole Foods stores will host these daylong events wherein 5% of that day’s net sales are donated to a local nonprofit or educational organization. These events help to fund groups that are having a direct impact on the local community, and keep the money that Whole Foods is making in the neighborhood. Whole Foods’ Community Giving Days don’t take a ton of effort from a corporate perspective, and yet they are able to create an authentic connection between themselves and the community that they’re serving.

 

Sprouts Farmers Market and their Healthy Communities Foundation

Sprouts Farmers Market is another inspiring example of what a community grocer can be, now and in the future. Sprouts is known for being one of the first grocers to make natural foods a priority, opening in 2002 with the mission of making these health-focused foods available to everyone at a reasonable price.

Their website says it all: “We believed that eating clean and living healthy was more than just a trend. At Sprouts, it’s our passion. And we knew that by focusing on farm-fresh produce and other healthy, affordable items, we could create a grocery experience where you didn’t have to be wealthy to eat healthy!”

Sprouts’ company ethos is ingrained in the idea of being a community grocery, and they’ve taken that passion to the next level with their Healthy Communities Foundation, which sponsors local “health and wellness related causes that directly impact the neighborhoods where our customers and team members live, work and play.”

The organizations that Sprouts works with include REAL School Gardens, Vitamin Angels, and Autism Speaks. This is what Sprouts says about their foundation: “We focus on giving locally in the areas of food security and hunger relief; promoting health education and nutrition; and helping people living with disabilities and health concerns.”

 

Looking for more examples of grocers creating a connection with their communities? We highlight some of our favorite initiatives in our latest eBook. Click below to download this free resource.

What Does it Mean to be a Community Grocer in 2020?

Earth Day 2019: 5 Tips to Diminish Food Waste

Earth Day 2019: 5 Tips to Diminish Food Waste 720 480 Emma Leuman

On Earth Day 2019, the challenges that our environment is facing are more prominent than ever. The modern news cycle keeps us aware of every imminent threat to the health of our planet, and it can be overwhelming to consider the far-reaching consequences of every action we take.

As a member of the grocery industry, we’ve chosen to use this day to focus on a key issue that our community is contributing to, and has the power to change: food waste.

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Expired Shrink Prevention Strategies for Community Grocers

3 Expired Shrink Prevention Strategies that Can Help Your Community

3 Expired Shrink Prevention Strategies that Can Help Your Community 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

Many retail operations are created with the business in mind. We have implemented procedures in order to make our stores run more efficiently, and in a more cost-effective manner. When we originally put together those processes, we were considering how the business would be affected by the results.

That mindset is being flipped on its head as we get closer to 2020. The focus of supermarkets across the country needs to shift, placing the spotlight on our customers instead of our internal workings.

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Food Waste-Free Experience Creates Customer Loyalty

How a Food Waste-Free Experience Creates Customer Loyalty

How a Food Waste-Free Experience Creates Customer Loyalty 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

One of the most-discussed trends in retail is the collective shift toward seeking customer loyalty over a one-time sale. There’s good reason for the conversation: according to a study by Edelman, loyal customers will spend up to 67% more with your brand than new customers. It’s not about bringing new faces into your store in 2019 – it’s about convincing them to keep coming back.

Grocers are aware of the impact of customer loyalty, and are turning to unique business strategies in order to develop that connection. One such strategy is becoming food waste-free.

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What is Stop Waste Together?

What is Stop Waste Together? 720 480 Emma Leuman

The grocery industry has faced its fair share of challenges over the past few decades. Digitization has caused many shoppers to adjust their purchasing habits in favor of e-commerce solutions, technology has raised the stakes on in-store personalization, and a renewed focus on sustainability has raised standards for grocers across the country.

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How Grocers Can Reduce Throwaways and Over-Ordering This Holiday Season

How Grocers Can Reduce Throwaways and Over-Ordering This Holiday Season 1280 854 Andrew Hoeft

While much has been said about asset protection and loss prevention issues affecting the broader retail industry during the holidays, grocers and supermarkets face a number of unique problems that receive far less attention.

One such challenge is an increase in food waste. It’s difficult to predict how much demand will increase during the holidays. This can lead to over-ordering and wasteful throwaways.

We’ve assembled a short list of solutions and products that can help grocers combat over-ordering and throwaways.

Use discount displays

Using discount shelves — contrary to a popular opinion among grocers — have been shown to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examining why nearly half of America’s food supply is ending up in landfills cited discount shelves as a viable solution to preventing throw-aways as a result of over-orders.

“Retailers who have tried offering near-expiration items at a discounted price report that it does not reduce sales but rather raises customer satisfaction.” — Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

According to the report, retailers using discount shelves to sell near-expiration items at a discounted price did not report lost sales as one would expect. In fact, discount shelves boosted consumer satisfaction––a finding that aligns with the broader rise of discount grocery throughout the country. According to Forbes, the number of discount grocery stores increased 17.6 percent from 2011 to 2016. The same report also shed light into consumer behavior around discounts as well, finding that 68 percent of Americans say they enjoy taking the time to find bargains.

  • Experiment with discount shelves to as a simple solution to over-ordering that appeals to deal hunters and regular shoppers alike.
  • Use any existing planograms and in-store analytics tools to place discount shelves in optimal areas.

Donate more food

Food donation has become a large part of the modern retail and grocery world and offers supermarkets an opportunity to get involved with local charitable organizations during the busy holiday season. But despite the opportunity, 10 percent of the 133 billion pounds of wasted food produced each year is lost at grocery stores, restaurants, and other vendors.

The reluctance of many supermarket owners to get their stores involved often stems from liability fears. However, a number of laws actually protect companies from risk while offering tax write offs and legal paths through which deductions can be taken. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act passed in 1996 is one such law protecting good faith food donors from civil and criminal liability.

Get all the details in our Food Donation Guide. We’ve pulled out the important points from the three major laws protecting and promoting grocery food donation and packed them into a clear and simple guide.

Logistical headaches can also dissuade supermarkets from donating food. Many stores don’t have the space to store leftover food while waiting for pickup. Others don’t know who or where they should donate food in the first place.

MealConnect

Feeding America offers a solution to these problems through its MealConnect program. It acts as a middleman between food vendors like grocery stores, produce markets, restaurants, and hotels and food providers like food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Through programs like MealConnect, supermarkets can participate in holiday food donation programs without saddling themselves with an expensive and complex logistics plan.

Learn more about Feeding America’s MealConnect program →

Eliminate overfilled displays and planogram divergence

As it turns out, the “pile em’ high, watch em’ fly” philosophy to product displays doesn’t seem to ring true as revealed in a study conducted by a 550-store grocery chain. Following a thorough analysis of freshness, shrink, and customer purchases in all of its perishables departments in 2008, Stop and Shop/Giant Landover saved an estimated $100 million a year by making a few key changes to protect its assets and prevent losses.

The company found that overfilled displays were directly causing products to spoil on the shelf, resulting in both financial waste and displeasure among customers while forcing staff to manually sort out damaged items. After simplifying their displays, customers didn’t notice fewer choices and less-full displays. In fact, customer satisfaction rose as produce was on average three days fresher than before.

This is just one example of display simplicity that can extend throughout the store. In the lead-up to seasonal products around the holidays, this is the perfect time to declutter displays and put the focus on high-interest products in preparation for the influx of shoppers.

Diverging from an established planogram can be a less-obvious issue feeding into a broader loss prevention problem. It’s not uncommon for supermarkets to quietly creep away from their plan without even realizing it. However, it’s important to remember that an effective planogram isn’t just a pretty blueprint for your store––it’s optimized to maximize sales in very subtle ways. Even a slight divergence can have a profound impact on your bottom line.

There are lower-tech and higher-tech methods of measuring planogram compliance. The former may be as simple as a store manager or employee walking around with a clipboard and verifying compliance. The latter entails taking pictures with a smartphone and comparing the current state of the store to the planograms themselves.

While both of these methods would suit small to mid-sized supermarket, larger grocers (whose financial pains are amplified with each small error) should consider investing in a system designed specifically to closely monitor planogram compliance. We’ve highlighted a few of these systems below.

RELEX Micro Space Planning and Planogram Optimization Solution

“RELEX’s micro space planning software enables supermarkets to create planograms for any fixture and continuously assess their performance while editing. Automated planogram updates and automatic creation of optimized planograms at all levels, including store-specific plans, maximize the benefits of micro space planning.”

Learn more about RELEX

Planorama Planocheck and PlanoManager

“Planorama’s Planocheck extracts real-time actionable unbiased business intelligence from a single shelf photo. Make your sales reps’ life easier with an instant report to act upon while they are still in the store. Centrally access up-to-the minute consolidated data for all your SKUs, stores, chains and channels to make better and faster decisions. And ensure shoppers’ in-store experience with your products is the one you have designed for them.”

Learn more about Planorama

COSY

“Cognitive Operational Systems, Inc. (COSY) is a spinout of UPenn’s GRASP Laboratory. The company focuses on leveraging University research for enabling industry solutions in computer vision, perception, and artificial intelligence. COSY became one of the early occupants of Pennovation Works in the summer of 2015.

COSY technology enables robots to navigate retail store floors, managing inventory, ensuring planogram and promotional compliance. COSY will also map stores including layout and architecture.”

Learn more about COSY

7 of the Best Foods to Donate to Food Banks

7 of the Best Foods to Donate to Food Banks 876 584 Andrew Hoeft
Food donation is one of the most generous and helpful things you can do for people who are in need. Food donation facilities help families in need who do not have the adequate income needed to support themselves. Quality assurance when is a key component for providing each family with nutritious meals options.

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A Quick Guide for Donating Food

A Quick Guide for Donating Food 550 380 Andrew Hoeft
Did you know that we waste over 70 billion pounds of food in America every year? That’s a LOT of food. Food which could otherwise be consumed and instead is being sent straight to landfills. Supermarkets buy so much food to allow for variety among consumers that a large portion of it goes completely to waste.

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Donating Food After Events: Reduce Waste With These Tips

Donating Food After Events: Reduce Waste With These Tips 1000 664 Andrew Hoeft

Whether it’s restaurant catering or a pre-boxed lunch from a grocery store, prepared food and the events that use prepared foods leave a lot of left-overs that are perfectly edible. Most people just throw this food away, but little do they know they are throwing money down the drain. There are many different ways, and places you can donate your leftover food to that will go to great use as well as provide you the opportunity to claim tax deductions at the beginning of the year.

The process of donating precooked food is becoming easier and easier as lawmakers add new protections to companies donating to charitable organizations each year. This food donation process is now incredibly easy and safe. Let’s take a look at four tips you can use to ensure success in your food donation efforts after an event.

Plan Ahead of Time

You don’t want to wait until after the event or the end of the day to begin trying to come up with a plan for food donation. The planning of food donation needs to be completed in the pre-planning stages of the event itself or into your daily routines if you’re a store. The longer you wait, the more likely it is you will run into a hiccup that forces you to scrap your food donation plans completely.

Understand Your Rights

A primary concern for aspiring food donors are the potential liability issues. Some people worry that if a product they donate ends up making somebody sick, they could be sued. Luckily, there are now laws in place that prevent such a thing from occurring. If the people you are working with are still possibly concerned about potential legal issues, you can have them contact a corporate lawyer to give them the scoop on all the protections and laws put in place to protect them during the process – for example, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act.

Include the Vendors

While this is mostly for restaurant and catering, grocery stores can gain some insights as they are run by teams too. Don’t leave anybody out of the food donation planning process. Making sure everybody you’re working with is included throughout the process. It is crucial for executing a successful food donation strategy. Sufficiently update the team of the correct procedures and of their legal protections to provide them complete protection in case of a situation that could potentially leave them liable.

Work with a Local Food Banks and Food Pantries

Pick a local food bank you’re going to work with and educate them on the specifics of your food donation plans. Let them know your plans and how you want to donate all of the food you have left over.

It is important to involve them in your planning process. For example, determining details such as how often pick-ups or deliveries will be done? Does your team need to deliver the food to the bank, or can they provide pick-up? What types of food storage do they prefer?

If they are already familiar with the process of donating prepared food, the entire process will likely be easy to finalize and implement. If you are donating to a smaller organization, it may require a bit more planning, but a successful program is still the likely outcome with a little extra planning.

Remember, Bill Emerson protects you from liability on these donations as long as your are not negligent. Make sure to properly store food until it is transferred to the food bank/pantry. If food cannot be picked up/delivered immediately after the event or the same night prepared foods are removed from the sales floor, they likely require storage in a cooler or freezer until transport can occur.

Other Things to Remember

Another important aspect of the food donation process to remember is that you need to track and analyze your statistics. You need to have the stats to back up the sustainability, resilience, and benefits of your food donation. When you track your statistics, make them available to the industry at large.

You might also encourage other businesses to do the same resulting in a domino effect that sees all the major event organizers choosing to donate their food due to the environmental and economic benefits and other positive effects this process can have.

Food donation is a good idea all around, even if you’re just an individual who just wants to help. If you’re a business, it helps your bottom line and is also good for the community. If you follow the tips in this article, you should be on your way to successfully and safely donating excess food—receiving all the benefits that come along with it.

Food Donation Guide
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