- Tops Friendly Markets has rolled out the Flashfood food waste-reduction program to 17 additional stores, the New York supermarket chain announced in a press release Wednesday.
- The expansion brings to 50 the number of the grocer's more than 150 locations that offer the app-based service, which lets shoppers buy fresh items like produce, meat and baked goods that are close to their sell-by dates at a discount.
- Tops' growing use of the Flashfood service builds on a broader effort by the grocer to improve the sustainability of its operations.
Like other grocers that have been ramping up their focus on the environment, Tops is presenting its efforts to cut down on the amount of food it is forced to throw away as a reflection of its commitment to preventing waste while also tackling food insecurity.
The retailer's partnership with Flashfood has kept more than 150,000 pounds of food out of landfills and helped shoppers save an average of $108 per month on their grocery bills, according to the announcement. Flashfood also points out that its service, which lists product discounts on its free app that users can then pick up at a special in-store area, helps grocers improve their financial results by turning items that would otherwise be chalked up as a loss into revenue generators.
Tops launched its partnership with Flashfood through a six-store pilot that began last summer and brought the program to 27 additional locations later in 2020. The program allows shoppers to save as much as 60% on products that are close to removed from store shelves, according to the press release.
The decision by Tops to deepen its relationship with Flashfood follows announcements earlier this year by grocers The Giant Company and Meijer that they would offer the app to customers at all of their stores. The Giant Company said in June that it would offer Flashfood chainwide by the fall after an encouraging test at a limited number of stores. Meijer, meanwhile, announced in February that it expects to offer the program at all locations by the end of the year.
Flashfood, which says it has prevented more than 22 million pounds of food from being shunted to landfills and saved shoppers over $70 million since its founding in 2016, also works with supermarket chains SpartanNash, Giant Eagle and Stop & Shop.
Food waste-reduction figures prominently into efforts underway at a wide range of retailers to showcase their environmental stewardship. Kroger, for example, is striving to eliminate food waste by 2025, while United Natural Foods, Inc. has pledged to cut food waste in half by that same year. Underscoring the financial toll for grocers of sending food to the dump instead of finding a way to sell it, the nonprofit organization Refed says wasted food costs retailers more than $18 billion annually.