WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Supermarket for Surplus Food to Reduce NZ's Food Wastage

I want to create a supermarket chain which sells donated and discarded food that is otherwise safe for consumption at a discounted rate. The store would be open to low-income families and citizens, with all customers needing to meet certain criteria to be verified to shop there.

What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

I want to help to solve the problem of food wastage. Nationally, around $872 million dollars worth of food is wasted in New Zealand annually - that is, it is purchased and thrown away before it is consumed. 

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?

I want to introduce a supermarket model such as the Quest Food Exchange, where discarded, otherwise healthy food is sold at a discounted prices to underprivileged families. Consumers must be verified in order to shop there, and are referred by community resource partners. I want to help solve New Zealand's food wastage problem by collecting commercial and residential discarded food that is safe for consumption and selling it on at a reduced-price supermarket. Not only could this reduce landfill waste, it could help to solve the problem of poverty in New Zealand, providing struggling families with a cheaper way to do their grocery shopping. It would be a sort of half-way between a food bank and a standard supermarket, and aim to reduce stigma around food packages and hand outs, by allowing lower-income families and citizens to grocery shop more affordably while retaining their dignity.

What makes your idea new and unique?

My idea is new and unique because to my knowledge there is no programme like it in New Zealand. I think it is a very achievable project that could make

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

Commercial supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and residential households will donate surplus food to be redistributed across these discounted supermarkets. Those that will most benefit from my idea will be the most vulnerable and the most in need New Zealand citizens - those who live below the poverty line, and those who currently struggle to afford the necessities. It could be thought of as a stepping stone between food bank reliance and self-sufficiency. The food sold will be healthy, nutritious and safe for consumption.

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

A $25,000 grant towards this idea would fund the establishment of a brand, advertising to commercial supermarkets, cafes and restaurants to get them to sign up and be involved in contributing their surplus food. It could also potentially provide a deposit for the first supermarket property.

Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident?


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edited on Oct 2, 2017 by Abby Robertson

Megan Somerville Oct 3, 2017

Kia ora. Thanks for putting your idea up. Although I am not aware of a project just like yours in New Zealand, there are a number of programmes that do pick up 'waste' food and distribute it. Check out this link for some examples: https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/food-waste/food-waste-warriors/

In light of what is already happening in this space, have you chosen a location for your supermarket and looked at what the current needs and services within that specific community are?



Leigh Nicholson Oct 3, 2017

Isn't this what the Ynot shop in East Tamaki does?

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Jennifer Mcguire Oct 10, 2017

This is a great vision. Might it be a good idea to open it up to everyone to address the volume of food waste. How does it work in other countries where this is already happening - is it just limited to low income families?