Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Retailing

‘Retail food’ is all food, other than restaurant food, that is purchased by consumers and consumed off-premise. Retailers have a major impact on the current and future direction of the food system through their influence on consumers (responding to and shaping demand), their suppliers and, via their economic power and lobbying efforts, over policy making. This influence can potentially be either positive or negative for sustainability across multiple dimensions – environment, nutrition and health, labour standards and working conditions and animal welfare. Retailers also generate a direct environmental footprint through their use of energy for store heating, lighting and refrigeration, and through their warehousing and transport operations. Some large retailers, particularly in European countries, now have voluntary sustainability policies in place and are engaging in the issues through various fora.

Image: Sander van der Wel, Full shopping cart (seen from above), Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
24 April 2019

This paper by FCRN member Claire Pulker of Curtin University analyses the presence and quality of supermarket corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies related to all attributes of public health nutrition, including sustainability. The paper audited Australian supermarket own brand foods to establish the extent to which CSR policies are translated into practice.

Image: Maxhavel, Max Havelaar Bananen, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
8 April 2019

This paper uses consumer surveys from the UK and Germany to explore how the intention to purchase food with ethical claims is affected by the so-called “warm glow” of altruism, i.e. “a feeling people experience when performing an apparent altruistic act”.

1 April 2019

This report by the US non-profit Environmental Working Group analyses pesticide residue data from the US Department of Agriculture. It concludes that around 70% of produce in the US is sold with pesticide residues, with particularly high levels in strawberries, spinach and kale and relatively low levels in avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples.

1 April 2019

This research briefing from UK charity Sustain assesses which of the UK’s 13 largest supermarket chains pays employees a Living Wage, the ratio between the salaries of their lowest and highest paid workers, as well as their approach to grocery market regulation.

20 March 2019

This report from the UK’s Sustainable Restaurant Association reviews the current state of sustainability in the UK food service sector. The three main challenges it identifies are reducing the amount of meat on menus, reducing food waste, and using less single-use plastic packaging.

4 March 2019

This report from the UK think tank, the Food Foundation identifies ten statistics that illustrate the effect that the UK’s food system has on health, and makes recommendations aimed at ensuring that healthy diets are accessible to all.

15 January 2019

Some businesses no longer accept cash and instead prefer card or other digital payments. This piece in The Spoon explores the ways in which cashless businesses might exclude some people, following legislation in New York City that could, if passed, force restaurants, coffee shops and stores to accept cash.

Image: Red apple fruits, Pixabay, CC0 license
15 January 2019

People tend to underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with different food types, according to this paper, but are likely to buy lower-emission food types when provided with information on greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Vladimir Kirakosyan, SAS Supermarket - interior, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
3 December 2018

The global supermarket sector's commitments to protect public health are “generally disappointing”, finds FCRN member Claire Pulker of Curtin University. However, some progress is being made address food waste, assure food safety and quality, and support selection of healthy foods.

Image: Richard Croft, Tesco Extra, Geograph, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
19 November 2018

UK supermarket Tesco and wildlife NGO WWF have set up a four-year partnership to work on reducing the environmental impacts of food. They aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, according to a metric that they will develop.

Image: Takeaway, Chingrit thot (Thai script: จิ้งหรีดทอด) are deep-fried crickets. The crickets used in Thailand can be either Gryllus bimaculatus or, as shown in the image, Acheta domesticus, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
19 November 2018

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has started selling edible insects in 250 of its stores, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. The barbecue-flavour roasted crickets are made by Eat Grub and contain 68 grams of protein per 100 grams of dried crickets. Eat Grub founder Shami Radia told Sky News, “We're on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn't be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

18 September 2018

In a write-up of a meeting of its Business Forum, the Food Ethics Council asks whether the concept of “ethical consumerism” is adequate for addressing food system sustainability issues. The report points out that “ethical” can have many different meanings, that businesses can lack a cohesive sustainability strategy if they are too responsive to current trends on consumer concern, that focusing on consumers can neglect systemic problem, and that not all people can afford to prioritise ethical concerns when buying food. The report also offers some recommendations to businesses.

Image: GoodFreePhotos, Set of sushi, CC0 Public Domain
24 July 2018

Scientists used DNA barcoding (testing a short section of the genome) to check whether fish in Metro Vancouver are really the species that they are labelled as being. They found that 25% of fish sampled were mislabelled, with error rates higher in restaurants than in grocery stores or sushi bars. Since the price of the claimed species was often higher than that of the real species, the paper suggests that some labelling may be intentional. However, the paper also suggests that some errors could be due to confusion between vernacular fish names (rather than scientific species names).

17 July 2018

The UK’s Eating Better alliance has published a survey of ready meals in the main UK supermarkets. The briefing reports that only 3% of the 1350 ready meals surveyed were entirely plant-based; vegetarian, plant-based and meat substitute meals altogether made up 14% of the meals surveyed; 77% of the meals contained meat; and 10% contained fish or seafood. Some retailers sell vegan and vegetarian ready meals at a higher price than other meals, most notably Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen vegan range, which is 67% more expensive than Tesco’s regular range. Nearly one third of meat-based meals did not specify the country of origin of the meat, while only three retailers included the meat in their own-brand ready meals under their farm animal welfare policies.

Image: TeroVesalainen, Grocery store supermarket, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
17 July 2018

This paper reports on a systematic review of grocery store interventions undertaken to evaluate their effectiveness in changing food purchasing behaviours, and to examine whether this effectiveness varied with intervention components, setting, or socioeconomic status. This is the first paper to synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in grocery stores across a wide range of intervention types.

Image: Neil McIntosh, Cockerel, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
4 June 2018

A podcast by Planet Money discusses price fixing in the US chicken industry.

15 May 2018

US grocers focus more on donating and recycling food waste than on preventing it, reports the Centre for Biological Diversity. The report scored 10 US grocery chains and the UK supermarket Tesco on food waste reduction commitments, policies and actions.

Pages