Townsville Community Pantry 'distressed' by fruit, vegetable waste at Aldi supermarket

townsville community pantry 'distressed' by fruit, vegetable waste at aldi supermarket

A video of Aldi staff throwing away fruit and vegetables has sparked outrage on social media as the grocer concedes it made an incorrect produce estimate for the launch of its Townsville store. ()

The organiser of a Queensland food charity that scrapes together donations for people in need says excessive waste at a supermarket is “distressing”.

Just days after the launch of Aldi in Townsville, North Queensland, a video has surfaced on Facebook that shows staff throwing fresh fruit and vegetables into a skip bin full of produce.

The video sparked outrage on social media and gained hundreds of comments.

Townsville Community Pantry manager Tricia Hatfield said she would have been happy to take donations from the supermarket.

“We collect from several supermarkets during the week. What we get is stored in a cold room for refrigeration,” Ms Hatfield said.

“It goes to people first and if that’s not suitable it will go to a farmer.

“It distresses me a bit to know that there is food being wasted like that.”

The company contracted to deliver the skip to the Aldi store and take the food waste to landfill said it had never seen so much fresh produce thrown out.

Produce estimate incorrect

An Aldi spokesperson said the supermarket took its responsibility to reduce food waste very seriously but acknowledged it had incorrectly estimated the amount of produce needed for the Townsville store.

“As we open in new markets there is always a learning curve, and it was clear that the produce estimate was incorrect resulting in an unfortunate amount of waste,” a spokesperson said.

“A larger volume of produce was ordered than normal to ensure the thousands of local customers who passed through our doors could experience the best.

“Upon realising that the produce was surplus to requirement, Aldi Townsville worked with its local food waste partner OzHarvest donating produce until our food waste partner could no longer accept further donations.”

The spokesperson said Aldi had immediately rectified the volume of produce on order for the Townsville store.

“Measures have been put in place to minimise waste levels in this store including working to expand our food donation network in Townsville,” they said.

Aldi states on its website that it has committed to sending zero waste to landfill by 2025 by improving its food rescue processes.

“If not deemed suitable for human consumption, food waste will be sent to animal feed,” the website reads.

More relief needed

Ms Hatfield said demand for food relief was growing in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We are covering 250 families or people a week on average,” she said.

“We’re registering new people every week; we had 24 new registrations last week.

“We have people coming in who are homeless or living in their cars and they’re finding it very hard not only with food prices but rent and so on.”

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