Losing some food as waste is a normal part of our business, but we are taking big steps to lighten the load.
When we produce food that is not consumed, everything that goes into making it also goes to waste – from our labor and packaging to water and energy. When this food ends up in landfills, greenhouse gas emissions go up and nutritious food becomes unavailable to those who need it most.
At SK Food Group, food is our biggest source of waste, making up about 60% of the total weight in our compactors. Losing some food as waste is a normal part of food assembly and production, but we are finding ways to make a big difference.
Guided by the USDA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, our goal is to reduce food waste to less than 1% of total input materials by 2030. Our priorities include reducing the amount of food waste generated and building partnerships to divert food waste from landfills and use it to feed animals and create compost. We also work with local food banks to support the communities where we work.
USDA FOOD RECOVERY HIERARCHY
What does food recovery look like in practice?
First, we are improving how we reduce food waste. This includes traditional waste reduction techniques, like developing new products that use meat, cheese and bread ends. We are also exploring new, technology-based solutions that use automation to significantly reduce waste inherent in manual processes.
“While there are standards for waste in food production… meeting only the minimums comes with a greater long-term cost to our company and the environment. Our team’s approach is ‘Let’s get better than the standard.’”
— Damon, Senior Director Manufacturing
We are also working with our waste contractor to find ways to divert food waste from the landfill. Using our Tolleson, AZ facility as a pilot program site, we have been donating additional food to food banks and, in late 2021, we teamed up with a local rancher who will use our food waste – a very clean mix of high-quality protein and grains – for cattle feed and compost.
As with all our environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, the aspirational, entrepreneurial approach at SK Food Group pushes us to go above and beyond.
Our goal to reduce food waste to less than 1% by 2030 aligns with SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.