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23 May 2013

PENNY wants to increase appreciation for food products

PENNY together with the German Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and the German Rural Women’s Association ‘Rural Women’ (Deutscher LandFrauenverband e.V. - dlv) launch a joint campaign for higher appreciation of food.

Between May 27 and June 8, ‘Rural Women’ will inform customers during five days in two PENNY markets each in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Offenbach and Munich on issues such as food waste, the correct storage of food in the fridge, the handling of food which has exceeded its ‘best before’-date and tasty recipes for left-overs. 

“The joint pilot project with the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection and the ‘Rural Women’ shall help increase the appreciation of food. Even though food can nowadays be purchased at a reasonable price, this should not lead to food being carelessly thrown into the bin. This is neither ethically nor environmentally acceptable”, Jan Kunath, Head of Management of PENNY, said today (23.5.) during the press launch in Cologne’s PENNY market  Longericher Straße 150 in the presence of Ilse Aigner, Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, and Brigitte Scherb, President of dlv.    For many years PENNY has been meeting the challenge of lowering the rate of food products littered in its markets to the highest possible extent. “Meanwhile PENNY sells 99 % of its food products in average for the year.

PENNY donates the greatest part of the remaining food to the approximately 900 local charity food banks (‘Tafeln’) in Germany”, says Kunath. He emphasizes the importance to reach and inform customers in a comprehensive manner and highlights the significance of the retailers’ role as interface. Therefore PENNY not only informs customers throughout Germany with the flyer ‘Because one does not simply throw money away’; the retailer also uses its website to provide further information with the slogan ‘Jointly against Food Waste’.

“The campaign ‘Too Precious for the Bin’ is a great success”, the Minister for Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner said. “We managed to establish in Germany a wide-ranging alliance which involves many actors: Producers, retail and quantity buyers such as hospitals and restaurants but also consumers and associations. There are many useful tips which help avoid food waste. The cooperation between Rural Women and retail demonstrates how food waste can be avoided in every-day-life when everybody acts in concert.”

“The German Rural Women’s Association supports the ambitious target of the EU Commission to halve the amount of avoidable food waste by 2020. This important task lies in the responsibility of all actors. Our starting point is consumer education. During the project, we advise customers on best practise of food storage and suggest tasty recipes for left-overs. People with higher knowledge on food will litter less”, says the President of the German Rural Women’s Association Brigitte Scherb.  

Multi-layered strategy against food waste
In order keep the rate of littered food as low as possible, PENNY follows a multi-layered strategy. On one hand the discounter uses modern prognosis systems, which in parts even take weather forecasts into consideration. Fully automatic ordering systems – supported by the experience of the staff – allow a very good and demand oriented supply of PENNY markets with fresh produce. Short transport routes between warehouses and markets, consistent cooling without interruption from production right up to the shelf or the increasing offer of regional products as well as daily deliveries all contribute to a minimization of the loss rate for fresh product categories.

On the other hand, PENNY trains its employees regularly on the correct handling of food. Employees in the markets, for example, control on a daily basis shelf life and freshness of food products at certain intervals, which are individually specified for each market. This also applies to the observance of the accurate cooling temperature as well as the appropriate stocking of refrigeration units, for example regarding the stacking height recommended by the producer. Should a product nevertheless approach its shelf life limit in due course, it will in individual cases be subject to special promotion on the shelf and offered at a lower price.

A further project is the testing of an ‘evening product range’ for bread and other baked goods crisped inside the markets. From 6 p.m. PENNY reduces its product range to the most popular types of bread and bread rolls. The reaction of customers shows that - after a certain adjustment period - they are willing to support this strategy.

Besides the ‘subsequent’ measures in markets and warehouses, PENNY starts its efforts to avoid food waste already by carefully selecting its own-brand suppliers. For this, the discounter uses the expertise of the REWE Group’s ‘Quality Control’. This department, in which experts from different professional disciplines cooperate, mandates reputable specialized laboratories in the context of own-brand quality monitoring. On an annual basis, ten thousands of samples are taken for the entire REWE Group; in 2012 more than 26,000 analyses were made. For this, REWE Group uses an adaptive monitoring system: products that show irregularities or that often prove to be critical are being checked more intensively.

Close and unbureaucratic cooperation with food bank initiative ‘Die Tafeln’
Since 2007 (REWE since 1996) PENNY donates the largest part of food - that despite all efforts cannot be sold - to the more than 900 local food banks run by the ‘Tafel’ initiative in Germany. This applies to food products which can not be sold but still consumed without hesitation. These are for example yoghurts approaching their best-before date or apples with bruises. Generally, this applies for fresh and/or unpackaged food such as milk, yoghurt as well as fruit or vegetables. 

Some products cannot be donated to the Tafeln like spoilt food or products with a ‘use-by’ date (e.g. fresh meat or fish).These have to be disposed off appropriately and in accordance with the legal and hygiene guidelines. 

Flyer and website
The flyer ‘‘Because one does not simply throw money away’ summarizes the activities of the discounter and contains useful tips, as does the website ‘Jointly against Food Waste’. Both have been especially created for this initiative.

The web site is divided into the different chapters ‘Food – a Valuable Commodity’, ‘Too Precious for the Bin’, ‘Rural Women’ and ‘Fridge Game’.

In ‘Food – a Valuable Commodity’, users find general information on food waste as well as an overview of PENNY’s activities in this area.

The heading ‘Too Precious for the Bin’ refers to the comprehensive information of the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection.

Under ‘Rural Women’, the user finds extensive information on the project partner as well as the local activities in the five cities.

With the help of the ‘Fridge Game’ everyone can test the knowledge on correct storage of food products in the fridge.

Overview local activities
Erdkampsweg 43, 22335 Hamburg (Aktionszeitraum: 28.5. bis 1.6.) Schwarzer Weg 2-6, 22309 Hamburg (Aktionszeitraum: 4.6. bis 8.6.)

Im Weidenbruch 151, 51061 Köln (Aktionszeitraum: 27.5. bis 1.6.)
Neusser Landstraße 364-366, 50769 Köln (Aktionszeitraum: 4.6. bis 8.6.)

Kaiserstraße 55, 63065 Offenbach (Aktionszeitraum: 27.5. bis 1.6.)
Bieberer Straße 95-97, 63071 Offenbach (Aktionszeitraum: 4.6. bis 8.6.)

Alfred-Arndt-Straße 1, 80807 München (Aktionszeitraum: 27.5. bis 1.6.) Zielstattstraße 10, 81379 München (Aktionszeitraum: 4.6. bis 8.6.)

Askanierring 40, 13585 Berlin (Aktionszeitraum: 4.6. bis 8.6.)
Tempelhofer Damm 24-30, 12101 Berlin (Aktionszeitraum: 28.5. bis 1.6.)

More information:
Contact: REWE Group-Unternehmenskommunikation Tel.: 0049 221 149 1050