Meijer on track to roll out food waste reduction program

The Flashfood app allows customers and community nonprofits to purchase food nearing its best-by date at savings of up to 50% off. Courtesy SpartanNash

Meijer plans to roll out the Flashfood program to all of its retail stores this year.

After COVID-19 caused delays in the retailer’s plans to bring Flashfood to all its stores across the Midwest in 2020, Meijer announced it is now on track to complete the implementation of the food waste reduction program this year.

While also cutting down on in-store food waste, the program allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date — like meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products — at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app and then pick them up at Meijer stores.

“Minimizing in-store food waste is the right thing to do for our communities and our customers,” said Don Sanderson, group vice president of foods for Meijer. “We’re pleased to expand our relationship with Flashfood throughout our footprint and offer this opportunity to all our customers.”

The retailer launched a pilot program for the app in November 2019 at a handful of Meijer supercenters in metro Detroit. After reducing in-store food waste by 10%, Meijer opted to expand the offering to all its stores across the Midwest. To date, an estimated 240 Meijer supercenters have Flashfood.

Flashfood is a Canadian-based company that allows retailers to upload surplus close-dated foods to the app, where items are available for purchase at a deep discount. Customers go to the app, select a Meijer store, choose the items they want to purchase and pay for them directly on the app at up to 50% off.

Customers then go to the store to pick up their items and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food is stored in a refrigerator or storage rack located in the front of the story until picked up by the customer.

“We are incredibly excited to be rolling out with Meijer and to be expanding Flashfood all over Michigan and into Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin,” said Eric Tribe, chief marketplace officer at Flashfood. “Meijer continues to show their commitment to supporting the communities they serve through reducing waste and creating value. They are moving fast to make an impact by launching Flashfood in all of their stores. We look forward to serving so many more communities and getting them access to amazing deals while reducing food waste.”

The Flashfood partnership is the latest of Meijer’s sustainability efforts. Meijer also has a Food Rescue program that donated 13.2 million pounds of food in 2020 to local food banks.

Meijer put food waste created during the manufacturing process of its foods to better use. For example, waste from Meijer dairy facilities in Holland and Tipp City, Ohio, is being turned into animal feed, and fresh food byproducts from Lansing and Middlebury, Indiana, are sent for anaerobic digestion and turned into compost.

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