Home » Pick ‘n Pay, led by South African Ackerman family, launches food waste reduction initiative

Pick ‘n Pay, led by South African Ackerman family, launches food waste reduction initiative

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Gareth Ackerman

Pick ‘n Pay, one of South Africa’s leading supermarket chains, partially owned by the billionaire Ackerman family, has taken a bold step towards reducing food waste and its environmental impact. The retail giant has launched a groundbreaking net-zero waste pilot project at Pick ‘n Pay Stellenbosch Square to cut food waste in half by 2030.

This initiative builds upon an existing program where Pick ‘n Pay donates edible surplus food, still within its use-by date, to FoodForward SA, a food bank serving over 2,700 beneficiary organizations. However, the new net-zero waste pilot project takes the commitment to sustainability a step further by diverting expired food away from landfills.

This project not only addresses food waste but also supports local agriculture. Expired food will now find its way to local farmers, composters, or waste-to-energy facilities, reducing the harmful environmental effects of waste disposal. 

To make this ambitious endeavor a reality, Pick ‘n Pay has partnered with one of its suppliers, Farmer Angus. Together, they plan to divert over 600 kilograms of food waste from landfills every week.

“Food waste is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. The partnership with Farmer Angus will see the nearby store’s expired food waste diverted from landfills to Farmer Angus’s pigs, effectively turning waste into a valuable resource for farmers,” Steffen Burrows, Pick ‘n Pay’s sustainability manager, said. 

“We are repurposing organic waste as animal feed, effectively closing the loop on waste generation and consumption. What brings this project even more full circle is that we stock Farmer Angus’s products on our shelves,” he added.

This initiative aligns with Pick ‘n Pay’s broader sustainability strategy, which includes a target to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Beyond its sustainability goals, the project aims to foster a new era of conscious consumption among shoppers.

Founded in 1967 by the late Raymond Ackerman, Pick ‘n Pay has maintained a dominant presence in South Africa’s retail sector, ranking as the second-largest retailer after Shoprite Holdings. With over 2,000 stores across eight African nations, the brand has solidified its position as a household name in Southern Africa.

The Ackerman family, known for their wealth, real estate investments, and private holdings, holds a significant 25.53-percent stake in Pick ‘n Pay, or 124,677,238 shares.

The latest initiative underscores the Ackerman family’s commitment to reducing food waste and promoting sustainability in South Africa’s retail landscape.

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