Pop-up market helps consumers understand sustainable food consumption

This UK based grocery store chain helps to spread awareness about the benefits of freezing food to decrease food waste.

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine | Public Domain
Frozen food in a grocery store

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets is a grocery store operating within the UK that has an impressive track record of environmental sustainability, having sent zero waste to landfills since 2013. The store has partnered with food redistribution charity organizations, such as FareShare and Neighbourly to achieve this feat. Building on this success, Sainsbury’s decided to begin on its next course of sustainable action: helping customers learn how to reduce food waste in their homes. 

In both the UK and the U.S., a sizable proportion of overall food waste happens in consumers’ homes, so educating consumers about how to reduce food waste will be an important part of the solution. To tackle this issue, in September Sainsbury’s launched a popup grocery store called Sainsfreeze which was essentially a walk-in freezer. The store was a collaboration with UK-based climate action non-profit WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). It offered all the goods found in an ordinary grocery store, including milk, eggs, baked goods, herbs and produce, but all items were frozen to help extend their lifespan and show consumers the variety of foods that can be frozen to avoid waste. 

According to a Sainsbury’s spokesperson, having this knowledge about how to freeze food may encourage consumers to buy price-reduced products that are near their sell-by date, allowing them to take advantage of savings – something that’s on everyone’s mind right now. According to a study conducted at the College of William & Mary, the average American consumer spends about $1,300 per year on food that ends up being wasted. That’s a pretty significant chunk of money, and with rising food prices, that amount will only increase.

Luckily, the strategies promoted by Sainsbury’s are easy to adopt anywhere in the world. Here are some tips on how to take advantage of the kitchen time capsule (the freezer) and preserve food – and save money – before it’s too late.

Orion Goodemote

Food Waste Intern, U.S. PIRG Education Fund


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