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Dutch retailers and food banks: a strong collaboration and innovative solutions to prevent food waste


For quite some time all national retailers have been working with Voedselbanken Nederland, the food banks in the Netherlands to fight against food waste and provide good surplus food to people in need. They deliver from their own distribution center to the distribution center of the food banks, from where the food is then redistributed. The food banks can also pick up the food from local sites, often on a daily basis. This activity provides a lot of products: some of them are close to the use-by date and will then be redistributed the same day.

How have this trustful and long-term relationship between retailers and food banks developed?
There are two main reasons. First of all, the food banks in the Netherlands received an aggregation in terms of food safety. But that’s not all! The NVWA (the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) gave the permission to food banks to freeze the meat even the day of its use-by date and to stick a new label on it (under strict food safety requirements, of course). Therefore, the food banks can still give away the meat for two additional months after the freezing delivering a highly nutritional and valuable food to final beneficiaries.

This collaboration is very valuable in many ways for the food banks and their beneficiaries, as well as for the retailers.

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