Sustainability at Sprouts
Hi guys! I am currently writing from beautiful Arizona, after a fun-filled second day of touring the Sprouts HQ and stores! Today was particularly fun because we spent our morning at the Sprouts store in North Scottsdale, learning all about sustainability at Sprouts, and even did a fun story challenge! Today we met with Justin, the Sprouts Sustainability Expert who told us all about Sprouts’ sustainability efforts, which I found fascinating. I think it is so cool when stores and brands are doing their part to reduce their environmental footprint, and encourage their consumers to do the same! Below are some of the things Sprouts is doing to be a better company for the environment.
Food Waste Recovery
Sprouts is making incredible strides in keeping their food waste low. Food waste is the last thing anyone wants, and the team at Sprouts certainly made it clear that they are doing everything in their power to keep food from getting thrown out and wasted. Something I found to be really amazing is the fact that they donate unmarketable food to hunger relief agencies in the cities where their stores are located. This means, if items are just beyond their “best by” date (aka just a recommended date anyways), they are able to donate those foods to local shelters and other charitable organizations who can feed that food to people in need. Don’t worry; they aren’t sending moldy, nasty food to these charitable organizations. They just donate the food that is no longer able to sit on the shelf at a store, but still has a few more days of life left in it! Similarly, they reduce the sheer amount of food in the stores. They’ve implemented new systems to assist with production planning, and specific order quantities.
One thing I really loved seeing was the “Cow Chow” bin behind the North Scottsdale store. I asked why they don’t compost for human use (turning food into soil), and Justin told us that it’s more economically effective to send vegetable and fruit food scraps to these farmers to feed to their cows. The farmers are getting the food for their cows, they pay Sprouts for the waste, and the cows get to eat the unsellable produce (or the scraps that were used in a recipe, like spaghetti squash “shells”, for example). Sprouts has diverted 28 million pounds of food to local cattle farms! That’s a lot of food that would’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill!
As if you couldn’t tell already, Sprouts is truly passionate about the welfare of the animals that are supplying the markets. In 2018, Sprouts conducted comprehensive animal welfare and supplier transparency assessments. This encouraged all vendors to meet or exceed the industry best practices for sustainable farming methods. We got to watch a video on the lifecycle of eggs and chickens sold at Sprouts, and it is clear that both the farmers and Sprouts are passionate about this critical topic in the food industry. I personally think this animal welfare mission is reflected in the quality of the meats and eggs available to purchase through the Sprouts Meat & Seafood Shops.
Green Building & Non-Food Waste Recycling
We got to see the behind-the-scenes of the grocery store in North Scottsdale, and I was floored when we learned Sprouts recycled 91 MILLION POUNDS of cardboard boxes last year! You read that right. 91 million. Imagine, grocery stores are getting palettes upon palettes of goods each day, typically boxed in cardboard. That cardboard has to go somewhere! They have a baler on site, which obviously crushes the cardboard, and enables it to be recycled further. Justin even mentioned the fact that recycled waxed cardboard can be turned into fire logs! Wild. They also recycled 43 million single-use plastic bags, via the recycling containers in the front and back of the stores. Truly impressive numbers there if you ask me.
Fun fact about the Sprouts’ stores, each building is built to LEED Silver certification specifications. This means buildings are constructed with environmentally-friendly products, and projects pursue credits, that earn points. This certification helps Sprouts’ stores save money, conserve energy, and more. Similarly, there are 100 stores with 100% LED lighting, and there are small details throughout the store that help conserve energy.
I hope this post was helpful for you, and gave you additional insight as to how important sustainability is to the Sprouts’ mission. I was truly blown away by how much they care about doing their part in reducing their environmental impact. Feel free to check out more of Sprouts sustainability efforts HERE.
Disclosure: this post is part of a paid collaboration with Sprouts Farmers Market. All opinions are my own.