The growth in online grocery shopping will help slash food waste in the retail sector, according to chief executive of online grocery giant Ocado Mel Smith.

Speaking as part of a food industry webinar this week, Smith said the growth in online grocery shopping allowed supermarkets to significantly reduce food waste, thanks to better foresight of consumer demand.

“Our technology means we produce hardly any food waste, because we have a really short supply chain.

“We have a perfect view of what our customers have in their baskets up to 28 days in advance.

“This means we can better predict what we need from suppliers and minimise food waste from buying too much,” said Smith.

Lower food waste

Smith said the rate of food waste for Ocado stood at just 0.04% in 2020, which is significantly better than the average rate of food waste for other supermarkets, which ranged from 2% to 5% last year.

The Ocado boss said the reduction in food waste makes a big difference to the bottom line and profitability of the company.

Based in the UK, Ocado has grown to become one of the world’s largest online grocery companies.

However, the company aims to make most of its money by licencing its online grocery technology to traditional supermarkets that do not have a strong online platform.

In recent years, Ocado has signed technology partnership deals with supermarket chains such as M&S, Morrisons, Groupe Casino in France, Sobeys in Canada and US supermarket giant Kroger.