A federal action plan aims to limit actions on large meat packages. But distributors only intend to do so on a voluntary basis.
The Federal Council wants to get down to business on food waste, explains the “SonntagsZeitung” this weekend. The figures are indeed spectacular: more than 2.8 million tonnes of food per year go to Switzerland in the trash without being touched.
According to the newspaper, a whole series of measures are in the pipeline to reduce this figure by half by the end of the decade. But the particular case of meat, a commodity that is both expensive and perishable, is the subject of particular attention.
Among large distributors, actions on meat products are indeed often linked to quantity: to pay less, you have to buy more, often too much, and the surplus then sometimes ends up in the trash. The “SonntagsZeitung” cites a few examples picked at random in recent days: a 42% discount on chicken breasts at Coop, but on condition that you choose the 680 gram packaging. Minus 34% on cervelas at Denner, but only if you buy ten, etc.
Swiss distributors have in principle agreed to this action plan, which lists very concrete measures: “Quantity discounts (“2 for 1” etc.) must be checked for perishable products and, if possible, replaced by the corresponding discount on the individual product.” Clearly, it is a question of encouraging Coop, Migros and the others to no longer condition the discounts on meat on the purchase of larger quantities.
Quoted by the Zurich newspaper, Thomas Paroubek, Sustainability Manager at Migros, acknowledges the problem: “The risk of food waste tends to increase with campaigns involving large packaging.” According to him, Migros has already implemented a correction, and offers on many products the same discounts for small packaging as on large ones.
Everyone or no one
But that is not self-evident. At Coop, we remind you that such recommendations only work if all distributors do so. Otherwise, it will create distortions of competition. At Denner, a subsidiary of Migros, spokesperson Thomas Kaderli explains that the company intends to go in the direction desired by the government, but without doing without large family packaging. “Such actions have their justification, which is why we stick to them.” Other brands, such as Aldi and Lidl, however, have very little recourse to them, hardly believing in their true commercial potential in the face of households who calculate to the nearest franc.
Will the goodwill shown by distributors have an impact? Some doubt it. The Zurich national environmental councilor Meret Schneider is one of them. “So far, I have seen only half-hearted moves from companies. Volunteering alone is not enough. Wasting more to pay less is obviously a bad environmental solution. The meat departments of large distributors are now under surveillance.
Christopher Skipborn in Fribourg, has worked for Le Matin Dimanche since 2014, after working for Le Nouveau Quotidien and L’Illustré in particular. More informations
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