How Grocers Can Drive ROI with Sustainability

Surging attention to individual and mass impact on the environment means elevated consumer interest in sustainability. As the grocery industry steps up to the complex challenge, retailers are faced with myriad opportunities to satisfy eco-conscious customers while still meeting fiscal and operational needs. 

In a recent webinar hosted by Progressive Grocer Editorial Director Mike Troy, industry leaders from Date Check Pro, Raley’s, and UNFI team up to share practical sustainability tactics and strategies that grocers can implement for both present change and future impact. The conversation explores the following: 

  • Insights from exclusive research on what matters most to shoppers
  • How the outcomes of sustainability initiatives drive ROI
  • The right way to tell your sustainability story to shoppers

Where Consumers & Retailers Care About Sustainability 

Date Check Pro Founder & CEO Andrew Hoeft kicks things off by highlighting results from a recent DCP consumer survey. Inquiries included whether sustainability-focused advertising from grocers encourages consumers to shop there—the answer, in the case of 44.8% of respondents, being yes—and which sustainability initiatives matter the most to consumers—with food waste coming in as the #1 most important initiative.

Hoeft goes on to give insight on how expiration date management software such as Date Check Pro provides grocers a simpler way to manage close-dated items and significantly reduce food waste. Inefficient management of expiring and expired foods can eventually lead to loss of customer loyalty; in fact, survey data indicated Poor Quality/Expired Food as the second most common reason why consumers stop shopping at a store. In Hoeft’s conclusion, he suggests that promoting existing sustainability initiatives clearly to consumers will drive loyalty, just as efficiently managing expiration dates in order to focus on food waste prevention is the best way to mitigate both loss of revenue and loyalty.  

Chelsea Minor, Corporate Director, Public Affairs, for third-generation grocer Raley’s, discusses the grocer’s purpose-driven approach to providing consumers with the healthiest options at the most affordable price. "We really want to change the way the world eats, one plate at a time," Minor states. "Part of that is empowering the customer through education and transparency."

Director of Sustainability & Social Impact for UNFI Alisha Real speaks on the North American food wholesaler’s feelings of responsibility to do what’s right for people and for the planet, discussing sustainability efforts that prioritize shared value. “[With] food waste reduction and waste can see almost an immediate payback,” Real emphasizes. “Reducing shrink, reducing food waste: absolutely a win for the bottom line.”

The Sustainability Ecosystem

A keystone touched on by all three speakers is just how interconnected sustainability efforts need to be. “We’re all accountable for leaving the environment better than we found it,” Minor says of the teamwork required to solve a continuous problem like food waste. The network of sustainability is far-reaching when it comes to grocery: From distributor, to grocer, to customer. “I think it’s really important that this conversation goes beyond just your individual organization,”  Minor adds. “We’re all a part of the solution.” 

Educating and engaging the consumer in sustainability solutions is another mutual takeaway. “It really does take a community to solve [the food waste] problem,” Hoeft says. “How can we solve waste end-to-end on the supply chain? Not just when it’s produced, when it’s transferred, when it’s in the stores, but even all the way down to the home level? That happens with collaboration...and it needs to engage, as we’ve talked about here, the consumer.” 

To view the entire webinar on demand and hear more about retail solutions for driving ROI through sustainability, follow this link to the Progressive Grocer website.


Progressive Grocer & Date Check Pro webinar "How Grocers Can Drive ROI With Sustainability" features the following speakers:

Mike Troy, Editorial Director, Progressive Grocer

Andrew Hoeft, CEO & Founder,  Date Check Pro

Chelsea Minor, Corporate Director, Public Affairs, Raley’s

Alisha Real, Director, Sustainability & Social Impact, UNFI


Download the webinar