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Retailing

‘Retail food’ is all food, other than restaurant food, that is purchased by consumers and consumed off-premise. Retailers have a major impact on the current and future direction of the food system through their influence on consumers (responding to and shaping demand), their suppliers and, via their economic power and lobbying efforts, over policy making. This influence can potentially be either positive or negative for sustainability across multiple dimensions – environment, nutrition and health, labour standards and working conditions and animal welfare. Retailers also generate a direct environmental footprint through their use of energy for store heating, lighting and refrigeration, and through their warehousing and transport operations. Some large retailers, particularly in European countries, now have voluntary sustainability policies in place and are engaging in the issues through various fora.