Food Waste Working Group - In Person Meeting - Nov 16th & 17th

by Colin Peacock

May 25, 2022

In-Person Food Waste Working Group Meeting

Background: Established in 2014, this working group has published research studies and up until 2020, met in person twice a year. From 2020, the group has expanded enormously but only ever had virtual meetings. In November, we plan to return to an in-person meeting, the invite list, the draft agenda, the anticipated benefits of attending and some additional planning help for overseas visitors and next steps are all detailed below..

Who is invited? The invitation is open to food waste leaders from any retailer or producer, from any part of the world. It will be especially interesting for those companies who have been regularly taking part in our virtual working group meetings, these would include but not be limited to Asda. Meijer, Walmart, Coles, Tesco, Jumbo, Albert Heijn, S Group, Colruyt, Carrefour, Kroger, Sonae, Woolworths, Migros, Lidl, Aldi, Dollar General, Whole Foods, M&S, Waitrose, Coop, Mercadona, Metro, HEB, Target, Esselunga, Kaufland, Meny, Southeast Grocers, Big Y, AB, Delhaize and Iceland. In addition, we will invite academics from Eindhoven University, Boston University, the University of Portsmouth, and Wageningen University. For the 2d data bar code discussion, we will also involve experts GS1, POS till providers, packaging suppliers and producers. .

Provisional Agenda: Wednesday November 16th

From 10.30am: Arrivals, Coffee & Introductions @ ResourceFood, Rugby, CV21 1QN

11.30am: Food Waste to Animal Feed Site Visit - Groups will visit the ResourceFood site, and follow the journey of surplus food, from its arrival from retail stores through to its final output as products that can be used for animal feed.

1pm: Site Visit Debrief & Working Lunch

2pm: Retail Visits – Participants would be invited to join one of three journey plans. One set of groups would visit the Tesco Fulfilment Centre in West Bromwich to look at food waste through the lens of online grocery, and then go onto visit retail stores. to observe the markdown and donations processes. The second set of groups would visit a Tesco Fresh Distribution Centre and follow the physical and information flow of items from this pick to zero DC operation from receipt, to picking and through to despatch. They would then visit retail stores to review markdown and donations. The final set of groups would visit a different retailers Fresh Distribution Centre, and follow the flow of items from receipt to despatch, they would then visit stores to review the markdown and donations process.

5pm: Site Visit Debriefs – Participants will all arrive back to the ResourceFood site, and in their groups, share their notes on what they each observed to be new, different, re-applicable and then, the new ideas based on their own learnings that they can share back with the sites they visited to consider

6pm: Innovation Challenge – Speed Dating Session – participants to meet back at the hotel, where ten of the hottest innovators in food waste will pitch their innovations in short, five-minute pitches, to small groups of 3-4 participants

7pm: Network Drinks & Nibbles

 Thursday November 17th  

8am: Coffee & Breakfast & Day 1 Recap

8.30am: Speed Dating Debrief – Group to discuss, and share feedback directly with the start-ups, and discuss follow ups.

9.30am: Coffee and Blind Dates – each retailer participant will be given three coffee “dates” with their peers from other retailers, each would share their three top food waste work plan priorities and decide whether to meet up again!

10.00am: Expiry Date Visibility - 2d data bar codes – This session will start with a recap from the academics on the relevance of improving the visibility to the expiry date, to be followed by insights from GS1, POS providers, packaging experts and producers. The group will then brainstorm the question, "what needs to be true for 2d data bar codes to be a scaled solution by 2030?" and identify the key barriers that would need to be addressed.

11.45am: Coffee Break.

12.15pm: Engaging Others In this group discussion, small teams will share how they have gone about engaging others in their business but also external stakeholders, especially producers. The outcome of this discussion will be some practical actions each business can take back to their teams to progress.  

1.15-2pm: Network Lunch and Departures

2pm: Close

Benefits of Participation This two-day meeting and agenda affords participants the opportunity of a heightened (vs virtual) peer to peer learning experience, learning by seeing, touching, etc, and for each business represented to gain new insights, new benchmark data and new thinking on food waste prevention, that they can action internally on their return. There is no cost to participate in the meeting other than participants own travel and accommodation costs.

For overseas visitors: We recognise that participating in this meeting would be a significant commitment in your time and cost. To this end, the ECR group would be happy to help participants organise additional benchmark retail store visits before and/or after the main meeting. We can also help with accommodation choices and transportation to and from the airports. The closest airport would be Birmingham, then it’s a choice between East Midlands or London airports, Luton or Stansted would be the closest, followed by Heathrow.  

Next Steps: If your business is interested in sending participants, or have questions, please send email to