How Booker calculates its food waste figure (UK)

Scope and Definitions


The published figure represents the food wasted in our full financial year 2017/2018. This year, this includes 53 weeks, from 25th March 2017 to 30th March 2018 inclusive and is the first year of reporting

Site Location and Type

The scope of this calculation covers food waste arising within Booker Wholesale, Makro Wholesale, Booker Direct, Chef Direct and Booker Retail Partners, from our distribution centres and branches in the UK.  This excludes Ritter Courivaud and Booker India

The calculation only covers our operations. Therefore, waste arising at our suppliers’ sites and from third party partners is not included.

Food Waste Definitions

Material types: The scope of the calculation includes food waste and associated inedible parts.

Destinations: The definition of food waste is based on that of EU FUSIONS: “Food waste is any food, and inedible parts of food, removed from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed (includes anaerobic digestion, energy production, landfill)

Food donated to charities is not considered food waste. Packaging waste is excluded.

Food Categories

All food categories sold at Booker are included in the scope.

During the calculations, all non-food items are removed from our waste data. Weighted products (butchery, fresh fish) have been excluded as weighing scales were only recently introduced into Cash & Carry branches, without this equipment and associated processes, it has not been possible to establish the sales or waste weight of weighted fresh meat and weighted fresh fish lines.  These excluded lines only represented 0.8% of the non weighted meat and fish lines.  The following products are out of scope and therefore excluded from the calculations:

  • Non Food, Pet Food, Tobacco, Health & Beauty, Laundry/Wash Up/Cleaning, Baby, Medicines, Catering Household and Catering Cleaning

Data Set

In order to calculate the amount of food wasted each year we record the following data in our sites.

Branch Waste and Surplus: This dataset contains the number of saleable units wasted and the total value (£) of such waste per item, split by waste type –

  • Damages: Products that are damaged in branch.
  • Out of Code: Products that exceed the ‘Best before’ or ‘Use by’ date and can no longer be sold.
  • Notified Loss: Products that are damaged during an exceptional event. For example, this waste could be caused by a fridge breakdown or flood. For the Wines, Beers & Spirits category this code is classed as theft so has been excluded
  • Product Recall: Products affected by a supplier product recall
  • Charity Donation: Products that have been donated to a local charity

Booker Distribution Waste and Surplus: This dataset contains the number of saleable units wasted and the total value (£) of such waste per item, split by waste type

  • Date Issue: Products that exceed the ‘Best before’ or ‘Use by’ date
  • Temperature Rejections: Products that are not fit for sale due to temperature failures
  • Other Damages: Products that are damaged at the distribution depot
  • Charity Donations: Stock donated to charity is captured manually which can mean it is included in the distribution waste numbers so may be double counted

Booker Retail Partners:  This data contains the number of saleable units wasted and the value split by waste type

  • Retailer credits: This dataset is based on supply chain issues found at point of delivery. Retailers are credited, therefore the stock is BRP’s property (albeit the disposal method may not be completed by BRP). 
  • Depot Stock Adjustments: These are stock adjustments which would end with a disposal made within the DC's

Valpak Weight Data:  To attribute a net weight to each product we have either used the variant description or used the gross weight of the product, minus the packaging weight.  Valpak have provided the appropriate net weight for each product using either method.


The bullet points below explain how we have calculated our total food waste tonnage for the full year 2017/18:

  • Included in the scope of our calculation is any food that has not been sold in our branches because it is past its best before or use by date, has been damaged or withdrawn from the market. The non-food categories mentioned above are removed at this stage.
  • The number of units wasted per item is converted into a weight measured in tonnes by multiplying the number of units wasted by the per unit weight*.
  • We perform a ‘bottom up’ calculation from the waste tonnages for individual products (e.g. mushrooms), to the commercial food category (e.g. Produce), to our entire UK operations.
  • Waste tonnages are added to obtain totals by category and for our entire UK operations.
  • The following steps are taken to select the best estimate for product contents weights:
  1. Product gross content weights are checked category by category and are marked as requiring adjustment where the content weight is missing or if it is high or low compared to the category average.
  2. If an adjustment is required, packaged weights are selected where available and if appropriate per expert judgement.
  3. For all items with no packaged weight data available, items are checked on a sub-category basis and an average is used based on expert judgement.

To minimise the risk associated with such estimates, categories with the largest number of waste items are prioritised and checked in more detail as these have the greatest impact on the total waste.

In addition, within each category, the products with the highest number of wasted units are checked manually one-by-one as these can also have a significant impact on the total waste tonnage.

Distribution charity donations may also be included in our waste records so there may be some double counting

* It is assumed that 1 litre is equivalent to 1 Kg where product content weights are listed as volumes.

Food Waste Intensity Figures

We have reported 0.2% of food was wasted in our UK operations. This figure represents our food waste per food sales by weight. The sales weight is measured using the same method for food waste: the number of units sold is multiplied by the same per unit weight used in the calculation described above.