Reducing and recovering food waste has major social and environmental benefits for our communities. It's also central to our mission of nourishing people, animals and the planet. That's why we're pledging to cut our food waste in half by 2030. Joined by Amazon, our commitment means that we will reduce our food waste by 50% over the next 10 years as part of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.
Our strong food waste strategy mirrors the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, which outlines specific actions that organizations can take to help prevent and divert food from entering landfills. For us, this means robust programs and partnerships that work to reduce food waste in our stores, nourish communities in need, create energy through innovative technology and more.
Upcycling In Our Stores
Upcycled foods are created from imperfect (but still delicious!) ingredients. Our stores actively repurpose or upcycle neglected and underused food across departments such as Seafood, Bakery and Prepared Foods.
Nourishing Our Communities
When preventing food waste in our stores isn’t possible, our team members prioritize donating leftover food to communities in need. We take great care to maintain quality and assure that donated food is safe to consume.
Transforming Waste Into Energy
Many of our stores participate in food waste diversion programs designed to keep food waste out of landfills. This includes composting, anaerobic digestion and animal feed programs. We also continually assess emerging technologies and partner with suppliers and industry experts to improve our landfill diversion rates.
Anaerobic digestion is the process by which organic matter such as food waste breaks down to produce renewable energy or “biogas.” By working with anaerobic digestion facilities, we’re helping to turn food waste into renewable energy and generate economic and environmental benefits. We use the Grind2Energy system, a customized, industrial-strength food service grinder, to cleanly capture our food waste before it’s transported to an Anaerobic Digester. We currently have 21 of these systems spread throughout five regions.
As of 2021, Whole Foods Market has diverted over 25 million pounds of food waste from landfills with the help of the Grind2Energy system. By diverting this waste from landfills, we prevented nearly 9,000 metric tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and, when processed through an anaerobic digester, produced enough clean, renewable energy to power over 2,500 homes for a month.
How We Stay On Track
We often work with our trash haulers to ensure that food waste is diverted properly and does not wrongfully end up in the trash. We ask our haulers to audit our trash loads and let us know when something is there that shouldn’t be there, such as plastic that could be recycled or food waste that could be composted.