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French supermarkets can show-off their record on cutting food waste

A new labelling system will allow shoppers to see how committed a store is to reducing the amount of food thrown away each day

A photo of a bin full of waste food

The new label will rate supermarkets on a star rating system from one to three, showing the extent and success of their food waste measures Pic: Luigi Bertello / Shutterstock

French supermarkets will soon be able to show-off their commitment to fighting food waste.

The stores will be able to display a special label in their windows that ranks how good they are at cutting the amount of food thrown away.

It is part of a government initiative aiming at a 50% food waste reduction by 2025.

The label will give the supermarket one, two or three stars based on the extent to which they fulfil certain anti-waste criteria. 

  • One star shows the supermarket has displayed commitment (engagement) to cutting food waste.

  • Two stars indicate it is mastering (maîtrise) the drive to reduce how much is thrown out.

  • Three stars indicates it has an exemplary (exemplaire) record.

Image credit: Screenshot / Ecologie.gouv.fr

The label will be available for display at supermarkets nationwide if they fulfil the criteria and pass an independent review, according to a decree published on Thursday, March 2. 

The label will be displayed clearly, for example on a supermarket or shop window.

The criteria for the label was created in partnership with the French standardisation association, l'Association française de normalisation (Afnor), as part of the February 2020 anti-waste law (loi anti-gaspillage et à l'économie circulaire, AGEC).

Read also: ‘Best before’ food labels are changing in France to reduce waste

France’s ecology ministry said that supermarket brands will be able to obtain the label based on the results of the “waste and waste reduction performance” measures that they implement in their stores.

These might include: 

  • Donations to associations that help people struggling to afford food

  • Systems implemented to identify products that are close to expiry and the ways in which they are sold to customers (lower prices, anti-waste baskets, etc.)

  • Staff training on anti-waste measures

The label will also be contingent on approval from an independent certification body approved by the state.

Around nine million tonnes of food is thrown away in France each year, with three-quarters of that binned by consumers. 

In 2016, the country became the first in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, requiring them to donate any still-safe items to food banks or charities instead.

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