ASSEMBLY JOINT RESOLUTION
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED OCTOBER 29, 2018
Assemblyman PEDRO MEJIA
District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)
Assemblyman DANIEL R. BENSON
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Assemblywoman ANNETTE QUIJANO
District 20 (Union)
Assemblywoman YVONNE LOPEZ
District 19 (Middlesex)
Assemblymen Mukherji, DeAngelo, Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle, Murphy, Assemblyman Verrelli, Assemblywomen Jimenez, Swain, Assemblymen Wirths, Space, Assemblywoman Mosquera, Assemblyman Coughlin and Assemblywoman McKnight
Urges large food retailers in State to reduce food waste.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Human Services Committee on December 3, 2018, with amendments.
A Joint Resolution urging large food retailers in this State to reduce food waste.
Whereas, The United Nations reports that the world population is expected to grow from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion people by 2050, which makes food security a pressing issue; and
Whereas, Growing food requires water, seeds, labor, machinery, energy, and fertilizer. Therefore, letting food go to waste is a frivolous use of natural resources that drives up costs, inflates food prices, and weakens the food supply chain; and
Whereas, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimates that1,1 annually1,1 between 1[one third] one-third1 and 1[one half] one-half1 of all food produced is wasted worldwide, and the English newspaper The Guardian estimates that approximately 45 percent of all fruits and vegetables, 35 percent of fish and seafood, 30 percent of cereals, and 20 percent of meat and dairy products are wasted by suppliers, retailers, and consumers every year; and
Whereas, Large food retailers stand in a unique position to address this global food issue. Because of their direct links with farmers, processors, and consumers, 1[they] retailers1 have the power to influence every facet of the supply chain1[. And]; and1 because the traditional supermarket industry is highly concentrated, retailers have considerable market power to make change; and
1Whereas, Food retailers have already indicated that they are fully committed to engaging in responsible food waste reduction and diversion practices, through such means as food donation, composting, and effective inventory management; and1
Whereas, 1[One] Although food retailers are dedicated to reducing food waste, one1 obstacle to food waste prevention among large food retailers is that the high volume–low margin business model makes these retailers vulnerable to threats such as competition, increasing wholesale prices, and changing consumer demands; and
Whereas, There are ways for large food retailers to 1further1 reduce food waste as it occurs in food farming and food production, in the stores themselves, and during consumption, while still managing competitive and strategic challenges by strengthening retail partnerships with food suppliers and connecting with customers’ needs and wants in new ways; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Large food retailers in this State are urged to upgrade inventory systems with the latest technology, reduce excess inventory and handling, and reduce the amount of perishables that ultimately go to waste.
2. Large food retailers in this State are urged to partner with farmers in the supply chain, and work directly with farmers or encourage their intermediaries to increase collaboration with farmers, in order to reduce agricultural food waste. If retailers treat farmers as partners rather than contractors, they can invest in the long-term sustainability of the supply chain instead of maximizing returns from a product in the short term.
3. Large food retailers in this State are urged to modify traditional store practices that increase waste1,1 and 1to1 create new practices to reduce waste, such as: lowering unreasonably high cosmetic standards for fruit and vegetables, and ceasing to reject even marginally imperfect-looking food; building nationwide systems to distribute surplus edible food to charities; urging food manufacturers to 1[drop “best by” labels, which are often mistaken for expiration date labels, and replace them with “best if used by” labels] utilize a food expiration date labeling system, which is consistent with the uniform, nationwide expiration date labeling system established by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association1; and finding new ways to display produce while reducing stock levels, thereby reducing labor and damage, and permitting produce to stay fresher for longer periods.
4. Large food retailers in this State are urged to team up with consumers to reduce food waste, by: providing free literature containing waste reduction tips and recipes to utilize leftovers; teaming up with chefs to demonstrate how to utilize leftover ingredients and food; and organizing “waste less” campaigns, that use crowdsourcing and other social media initiatives to interact with consumers and gather ideas for food waste and hunger prevention.
5. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the New Jersey Food Council.
6. This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.