Aldi responds to 'distressing' video of staff throwing out fresh food

The discount supermarket chain told Yahoo too much produce was ordered for the new Townsville store.

Aldi has vowed to work with more local charities after a “distressing” video of supermarket staff throwing out piles of fresh fruit and vegetables left shoppers outraged.

The clip of Aldi team members tossing bags of produce into a skip bin already brimming with food was captured at the discount chain’s new store in Townsville, North Queensland, just three days after it opened its doors. Given the current cost-of-living crisis, the footage infuriated customers after being posted on Facebook earlier this week.

The Aldi workers tossing the fruit and vegetables into a skip bin outside the new Townsville store.
Footage of the Aldi workers throwing out the fruit and vegetables was captured three days after the new store in Townsville opened. Source: Chris Thurley/the ABC

Food charities are currently working long hours to try and fulfil the demand in the lead up to Christmas, with Townsville Community Pantry manager Tricia Hatfield telling the ABC the group would have happily accepted the fruit and vegetables. “We collect from several supermarkets during the week. What we get is stored in a cold room for refrigeration,” she said. “It goes to people first and if that's not suitable it will go to a farmer. It distresses me a bit to know that there is food being wasted like that.”

Aldi responds to viral video

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia on Sunday, an ALDI Spokesperson said the supermarket chain “takes its responsibility to reduce food waste very seriously” and “has processes and policies in place to ensure that minimal amounts of products” end up as waste. “As we open in new markets, there is always a learning curve, and it was clear the produce estimate for this new store was incorrect resulting in an unfortunate amount of waste,” they said.

A man pushes a shopping trolley while leaving a Reuters store.
An Aldi spokesperson told Yahoo some of the food waste was donated, but the chain will aim to work with more local charities. Source: Reuters

The spokesperson said “a larger volume of produce was ordered than normal” and “upon realising that the produce volume was surplus to requirement, ALDI Townsville worked with its local food waste partner to minimise the waste”. The store donated produce “until local demand had been met” and its food waste partner OzHarvest could no longer accept any further donations.

“These volumes have been immediately rectified, and measures have been put in place minimise waste levels in this store including working to expand our food donation network in Townsville as we establish our store and community in this new location,” the spokesperson said.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.

Banner reads 'What on Earth' with 'Subscribe to our new weekly newsletter' and a collage of images of australian natural wildlife.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.