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like many other South African retailers

Food Lover’s Market finds itself at a crossroads in our pursuit of sustainability, grappling with a unique set of challenges. This retail environment, marked by its rich cultural diversity and economic disparities, faces a complex interplay of factors that impact our ability to embrace sustainability best practice.

In this context, several barriers come to the fore, spanning economic, infrastructural, and regulatory dimensions, each demanding attention and innovation to steer our company towards a more sustainable future.


Food Lover’s Market commissioned SimGenics to perform a carbon footprint assessment of its operations for the period ending on 28 February 2023. This was the second carbon footprinting exercise undertaken after the first in 2016. In this period, our carbon footprint was 127 632 tCO2e, an increase of 4.5% against 2016. This should, however, be viewed in the context of increased turnover and a 37% increase in floor space in the intervening seven-year period.

Electricity contributes over 50% of our total carbon footprint and is an area where considerable effort and investment is being made to make our storesand distribution centres more efficient. Total electricity usage resulting in emissions increased by 2.2% from 2016 to 2023, taking the contribution of both Eskom and owned diesel generators into account.

Direct fugitive gas emissions increased by 68% from 2016 to 2023 with the largest emission contributors being R507, R407F and R22. R507 has a particularly large global warming potential (tCO2e per kg) – less consumption of this gas will have the most impact. To combat this, Food Lover’s Market is identifying and minimising leaks and accidental releases. We are also in the process of identifying replacement gases with lower global warming potentials.


Food Lover’s Market has been driving the reduction of electricity use and the switch to renewable energy for several years, and for good reason. Not only will it reduce our overall consumption and save money for the business, but it also reduces our carbon footprint impact on the planet. During this period, solar panels have been installed at the following stores and facilities at a total cost of over R19m.

Our plan is to double this in the coming year.


We are constantly looking at ways to increase efficiency in our stores. Like many other businesses, we have energy monitoring systems connected to our key departments. These provide us with live feedback in terms of our energy usage at any given point in time, as well as warning systems when any of our departments vary from the expected energy use. This assists us in detecting and fixing issues as they arise, reducing our costs and improving our energy efficiency. Our development team extensively researches and searches out best practices in terms of new equipment, which are then trialled in our stores for effectiveness and efficiency, before being rolled-out. Some of our innovations include the Absorb-It-All mineral-based humidity management system.


To reduce our water consumption

we are in the process of trialling water meters, and will be rolling these out to all corporate stores in the coming year.

At Food Lover’s Market Bothasig, we installed our own water well points, which means that we are no longer reliant on municipal water. We would like to extend this initiative to our other stores where possible, with the aim of reducing our dependence on municipal water sources. By installing water well points, we can ensure a more sustainable source of water for our operations and reduce our water bills. By drilling a well on the property, stores can access groundwater which can be used for various applications, such as irrigation, cleaning, and flushing toilets.

In addition, by using well water, stores can avoid potential water shortages during times of drought or municipal water restrictions. This can provide a level of security and ensure that the store’s operations are not disrupted due to a lack of water.

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