Less food waste

© BurdaFoodAgency / Katrin Winner

As a food producer, we’re aware of our responsibility towards people and the planet. Our aim is to make our production as sustainable as possible. Sustainable production also means minimising waste and well-planned reuse of raw materials and products.

The question of how we can reduce food waste is extremely topical. As a responsible part of the food supply chain, we’re actively working on effectively cutting food waste – across the entire Danone value chain.

Our goals

As part of the Danone Impact Journey, we’ve committed to cutting our food loss by 50% by 2030 compared with 2020. To achieve that goal, we’re assuming responsibility in our own area and aim to reduce losses from production to delivery. We also monitor the entire value chain and initiate projects to tackle food waste – covering farming, production, wholesale, retail and consumers. We enter into strong partnerships and cooperate with industry associations to achieve our goals. At Danone, we believe that by working together we can resolve the global issue of food waste.


Our dairy in Ochsenfurt is supplied by over 90 small and medium-sized dairy farms in the region. We support their activities by providing permanently employed Danone dairy product experts who advise and assist dairy farmers with everything from feed to hygiene. In this way, our partnerships make a major contribution towards tackling food waste.

For example, we advise our milk producers on ensuring their milking systems meet hygiene standards and keeping the bacterial count in raw milk below the levels required by milk quality regulations. If high bacterial counts do occur, our advisers help farmers to rapidly identify and rectify the cause of the problem – any farm whose levels are too high can be prohibited from supplying milk by the veterinary inspection office. Together we make certain the milk meets the quality requirements and avoid the loss of raw milk.

We also work closely with farmers on the control of inhibitors that prevent the growth of bacteria and cultures that restrict the fermentation process. If evidence of inhibitors is found in milk, it cannot be used for the production of dairy products and is disposed of. Farmers report suspected inhibitor problems at an early stage. This helps to ensure relatively few batches of milk are contaminated with inhibitors and less milk is lost. In 2008, around 300 tonnes of milk were lost in this way in Ochsenfurt compared with just 45 tonnes in 2022. In percentage terms, that means we were able to cut milk loss by 85%.


In addition to our high hygiene standards, a great deal of care and professionalism are required to minimise losses in production. Even seemingly small changes can have a major impact here. For example, our dairy in Ochsenfurt uses what’s known as the ‘Molch’, which is like a giant spatula, to cut fruit waste.

This high-tech solution means pieces of edible fruit can be added to the batch from the walls of the fruit tanks. As a result, 24 kilograms more fruit per fruit container is now being used for products. With around 1400 fruit container changeovers, this prevents the waste of a total of 33.6 tonnes of fruit per year. We even use unavoidable production remnants or inedible products for biogas production and – where feasible – as animal feed. 

To guarantee the freshness of products sold, retailers require a minimum remaining shelf life for deliveries. Excess edible products, which cannot be sold to retailers because the best-before dates are too soon, are sold via our secondary market for clearance sales to large customers such as army barracks, hospitals or restaurants.

This is now also available to our large customers digitally via our clearance sales online shops. Via these sales channels, we exclusively sell products with a shorter minimum remaining shelf life at attractive prices. Our clearance sales online shops have prevented the loss of a significant amount of Danone products. In 2021, our e-shop was presented with the “Zu gut für die Tonne” (Too Good for the Bin) federal prize in the digitalisation category by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

We also donate Danone products with soon-to-arrive best-before dates to food banks where they’re distributed to people in need. In addition to food banks in Germany, we also donate to those in Austria and Switzerland. We’ve also been working with the ‘Tafel Deutschland’ organisation for a number of years and are supporting the development of an efficient, digital online donation platform.


Consumers also play a key role in tackling food waste. One of the main reasons for products being thrown away is the minimum best-before date required by law which is often misunderstood and interpreted as the expiry date by consumers. The best-before date refers to the time until which food can still be used as a minimum. 

A solution here is – together with retailers and other partners – providing transparent information on the often longer useful life of food. 

We believe that only by providing specific information on the best-before date can consumers make well-informed decisions at the supermarket shelf or in their own refrigerators and properly understand how long their products last.

As an official partner of the ‘Oft länger gut’ (often good for longer) campaign by Too Good To Go in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we want to contribute towards avoiding misunderstanding of best-before dates. Printing “Oft länger gut” near to the best-before date would cut food waste nationwide and encourage greater food awareness.

Sina Kneis, Head of Sustainability Danone DACH 

The additional information printed on product packaging makes consumers aware that the food products purchased are ‘often good for longer’ and by checking individual products (inspecting, smelling and testing them) they can avoid unnecessary waste of food that is still edible.

Together with ‘Too Good To Go’, we’re also helping to sustainably cut food waste at home and prevent food from being throw away unnecessarily. The ‘Oft länger gut’ information is now displayed on our Activia and Alpro ranges.

Food waste study by Danone and Too Good To Go:

Study on food waste amongst consumers in the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region

Together with Too Good To Go in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Danone carried out a study in 2021 on food waste by consumers.

The study focused on the entire Germany, Austria and Switzerland region and their results in previously published food waste studies. It explored the reasons for throwing food away, the most frequently thrown-away product groups, the role of the best-before date and the solutions and measures that consumers would like to see introduced.

The study serves as a starting point for Danone and Too Good To Go to develop further studies on cutting food waste and providing consumers with the best possible support to ensure more food ends up where it belongs in future – on the plate and not in the bin.

More food waste initiatives