Company recognized for its efforts in sustainable food management
Keasbey, NJ (January 30, 2014) – Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S., announced today that it has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its numerous efforts in food recovery and waste reduction. The 2012 Food Recovery Challenge Award for Endorsers is awarded to companies that create a foundation of innovation and achievement that can serve as a model for other organizations as they pursue sustainable business practices.
Wakefern has received this recognition for its efforts as an “endorser” in educating its cooperative members, who together own more than 250 ShopRite stores, as well as associates and customers, about the importance of sustainable food management.
Endorsers demonstrate their environmental leadership and play a pivotal role in conserving natural resources and preventing pollution by educating their constituents about the benefits of reducing solid waste.
Wakefern formally endorsed the Food Recovery Challenge in 2010 and began involving ShopRite stores in reducing food waste. A major factor that contributed toward Wakefern earning this award included the company’s Retail Sustainability Toolkit, a turnkey retail program which resulted in more than 250 stores receiving information about the EPA Food Recovery Challenge and other ways to reduce food waste. Through food bank gleaning and donation, as well as recycling and composting, the toolkit enables stores to feed families, protect the environment and, ultimately, save money. The company has also implemented an annual Earth News newsletter to educate consumers about waste reduction and retail efforts, as well as a social media plan to engage directly with customers about the benefit of its waste reduction initiatives.
Due to these efforts, 21 ShopRite stores registered for the food Recovery Challenge in 2012 alone, preventing a combined total of more than 3000 tons of food waste from ending up in landfills.
“We are honored to be recognized by the EPA for our commitment to the environment,” said Karen Meleta, spokesperson for Wakefern. “Partnering with the EPA and our ShopRite stores via the Food Recovery Challenge has the added benefits of keeping local food bank shelves consistently stocked, waste out of landfills, and builds upon our successful recycling and composting efforts.”
“It’s through innovative outreach efforts such as Wakefern’s that we are able to increase awareness of important opportunities that exist to reduce wasted food and feed people, not landfills,” said Barnes Johnson, EPA Director Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. “We are grateful to Wakefern for its continued enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work.”
About Wakefern Food Corp.
From a small, struggling cooperative with eight members – all owners of their own grocery stores – Wakefern Food Corp. has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Founded in 1946, the cooperative is comprised of 50 members who today individually own and operate more than 250 supermarkets under the ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. In 1996, Wakefern introduced PriceRite stores, extending the company’s reach into Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Today, there are more than 50 PriceRite stores in six states. As the merchandising and distribution arm of ShopRite, PriceRite and The Fresh Grocer, Wakefern, together with its member companies, employs more than 50,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in New Jersey. Wakefern also distributes products to other supermarkets throughout the northeastern United States and Bermuda. Wakefern was named one of the Best Places to Work in NJ by NJBIZ Magazine in 2011 and again in 2012. In 2011, Supermarket News gave Wakefern its Retail Excellence Award and The Griffin Report named Wakefern Retailer of the Year. Supermarket News also recently awarded Wakefern the 2013 Technology Excellence Award. For more information, please visit www.wakefern.com.