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How to Participate in the Mayor's Food Saver Challenge for Food Retailers

The Mayor's Food Saver Challenge is a challenge to reduce the amount of food going to waste in your store.


Mandatory Measures

Donate Surplus Food

  • To the maximum extent possible, donate surplus food to a local hunger relief organization whenever it is available (donating at least monthly is required) prioritizing fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy items as well as high quality prepared foods. The Food Donation section of this page has links to help you donate.
  • Track the weight of the food you donate each month and report your progress at least once a quarter. Your hunger relief partner can help provide this information to you.

Highly Recommended Measures

Recycle Food Scraps

  • Setup a separate collection system for your food recycling. This can include fruit, vegetables, meat and bakery waste.
  • Contact a food waste composting company or food waste hauler to have your material taken to a food waste composting facility or a farm that can use it to feed animals.
  • If you’re collecting materials for composting, check with your hauler to see what other materials can be included (e.g. food-soiled paper, plant waste, compostable plastics, etc.).
  • Track the weight of the food waste you divert to composting animal feed or other food waste processing method each month and report your progress at least once a quarter. Your food waste hauler should be able to provide this information to you.

Keep Good Food from Going to Waste in the First Place (pick 5 of these)

Reduce Waste

  • Provide consumers with the option to purchase smaller or customizable amounts such as unpackaged produce, at the deli or in a bulk aisle.
  • Reduce sale specials that encourage overbuying such as “buy one, get one free” on perishable items.
  • Streamline your inventory of perishables by stocking fewer of each item. This will cause each type of item to sell more quickly, reducing both shrinkage and inventory costs.
  • Redesign product displays to make bins appear fuller without utilizing as much product and encouraging less handling.
  • Examine aesthetic grading standards that would translate to fewer fruits and vegetables left in the field or culled.

Be Creative

  • Create a separate area for food that is still good but might be harder to sell like day old bread and overly ripe fruit or vegetables, and sell at a discounted rate.
  • Creatively reimagine or re-purpose surplus foods in your deli and other food service operations.


  • Educate your consumers about food waste reduction by participating in the Save the Food Campaign.
  • Engage your staff through training on food waste reduction and food donation, and through recognition for practices that reduce food waste.
  • Tell your story to show the community your successes and share with us.

Other Strategies

  • Since you know your business best, explore a variety of strategies to reduce wasted food in your stores and let us know what actions you are taking through your quarterly reports.