Food Promotions Guidance for Manufacturers

28th January 2015

How to develop food promotions that won’t contribute to increased food waste.

What this guidance provides:
Practical steps for preventing waste for each of the main stages in the promotion planning process
Identification of potential savings, including the cost of waste disposal and the lost resources that have been used, valued at £950 per tonne of waste prevented at the manufacturing stage
New knowledge, based on best practice across the grocery sector

Why this guidance is required

  • Over one-third of food sold in the UK is on promotion: promotional sales in grocery are worth over £28bn.
  • Promoted lines can contribute over 40% of manufacturers’ sales with promotions increasing considerably over recent years, though there is now some evidence of decline.
  • Promotions can potentially impact food waste in households and in the supply chain, so a whole-chain approach is required for promotion planning and evaluation.
  • Manufacturers have faced increased commodity costs and price volatility, such that the promotional landscape gives rise to concerns over dealing with risks and managing disruptions to supply.

What this guidance provides

  • Practical steps for preventing waste for each of the main stages in the promotion planning process.
  • Identification of potential savings, including the cost of waste disposal and the lost resources that have been used, valued at £950 per tonne of waste prevented at the manufacturing stage.
  • New knowledge, based on best practice across the grocery sector.
  • Potential for better service levels, including on-shelf availability, and lower residual stocks.
  • Potential for more effective collaboration with customers.

How to use this guidance

Promotions are run for a variety of reasons, generally concerned with market share or generating footfall. Some promotions address production surpluses, but typically waste prevention is not an objective for promotions.

These notes are aimed at manufacturing teams responsible for developing and executing promotion programmes. They have been derived from research undertaken primarily in the produce and dairy categories, involving 37 interviews with manufacturers and retailers across six supply chains, but have wider application to the rest of the food and drink sector.

Below are our guiding principles on waste prevention for promotions. In the guidance that follows, we have focused on the main causes of waste during each stage of promotions: process; production planning; forecasts; communication; supply chain; and evaluation. For each stage, there are practical suggestions for preventing waste arising. Finally, there are some next steps for manufacturers.

We recognise that our suggestions will not be practical in all cases, but we hope the document provides, in a convenient and comprehensive form, some tips that food manufacturers will find helpful in preventing waste.