A Kroger employee posted a photo of a shopping cart overflowing with food items which, despite Kroger’s “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” campaign, were headed straight for the dump.
In the photo on Reddit, the cart is shown overflowing with everything from potato chips to chocolate milk to dog food. The poster captioned it with “Zero waste, my a**.”
Similar depictions of edible or barely expired food heading to landfills have historically sparked anger and sadness online.
“It’s a shameful promotion,” one user commented, referencing Kroger’s “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” slogan. “Most of us that have been working long term know it’s total b.s. Do you not realize how much we toss away in produce every day? How much we toss out in floral every week?”
Kroger has made efforts to be less wasteful. The company conducted a trial program with reusable packaging company Loop back in 2022, but that trial has now concluded and no plans to conduct another have been announced.
“If they really wanted Zero Waste they could pull it off,” another Redditor wrote. “1. Don’t allow food returns 2. Maintain sufficient staffing levels to ensure that product is processed in a timely manner.”
Employees have documented similar instances of massive food waste at other big-box retailers like Target and Walmart, all of whose corporate websites list sustainability goals similar to Kroger’s.
The “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” website lists areas of focus including “feed, nourish, end waste, [and] inspire change,” but actual results have been mixed. Their goal is to divert over 95% of food waste away from landfills by 2025, but as of December 2023, they are falling well short, with only 45.9% diversion.
Some of the food in the photo was presumably returned by customers, which is, unfortunately, a source of a great deal of food waste across the board. As a consumer, you can shop more efficiently in the store to avoid overbuying — a tactic that’s beneficial both for your budget and to avoid waste — and prevent food waste in your own kitchen to minimize your footprint.
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