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Nugget Market, Inc. 2021 Sustainability Report

To provide transparency about our sustainability achievements so all associates and guests can track our progress.

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Nugget Markets Extraordinary Sustainability: Our Vision for Company Sustainability

We are a family business serving our guests, each other and our earth. We are committed to being leaders of sustainability in our industry with a focus on environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic vitality.

Nugget Markets defines sustainability as the balance of the three pillars: social responsibility, environmental stewardship and economic vitality. We want every associate to SEE sustainability in their departments, that is, make the connections that their practices are socially, environmentally and economically important. Almost every act of sustainability falls into more than one of these categories, as all three pillars are connected and work together to create a better future.

  1. Social Responsibility: Taking care of people

    One of our core values at Nugget Markets is to Respect, Appreciate and Value Everyone (RAVE). That means taking care of our guests, associates, communities and producers.

  2. Environmental Stewardship: Taking care of the planet

    With every action we take, we aim to ensure the resilience and sustainability of our ecosystems by reducing our environmental footprint and sourcing sustainable products for our guests.

  3. Economic Vitality: Taking care of business

    We’re dedicated to being good stewards of our resources, supporting local growers and producers, and partnering with companies who share our values for sustainability.

Social Responsibility Goals

Empower Green Leadership

Empower each store’s Green Guru to bring associate awareness back to sustainability within the confines of a pandemic world.


While we all breathed a sigh of relief when we said our final goodbyes to 2020 and entered 2021, unfortunately, we didn’t get our wish for the pandemic to be over. But as our Nugget Markets family strove for herd immunity, we had more time to think about sustainability! Instead of a survival mindset, we have been working back towards a growth mindset. We are grateful to our team of dedicated Green Gurus who ensure our associates have the tools they need to successfully divert waste and reduce water and energy (see how we did in our Environmental Goals below)! Through a host of communication tools, Green Gurus invited our associates to reengage in the program and have fun doing so. During “Sustainability Sundays,” our Green Gurus shared helpful tips on how to practice sustainability at home. During Earth Month, Green Gurus invited their fellow associates on a Sustainable Treasure Hunt to learn about the local, organic and sustainable items we carry in our stores. In honor of World Food Day, Green Gurus hosted multiple table events to speak with our guests about reducing hunger in our communities (find out more in our Economic Goals below!).

Growth can only happen with change, and this year really put us to the test! The Sustainability Coordinator had her work cut out for her as Green Gurus were promoted to management positions, and she had to hire and retrain new associates for her team. She established six-month check-ins with each of her Green Gurus to hear how they were doing mentally and emotionally, and find out what their goals were for the future. She also continued awarding stores monthly Green Grades, honoring two new stores with the quarterly Sustainability Jar!

Nugget Markets, West Sacramento won in quarter three for the incredible leadership by their Green Guru who led her team to an 11% decrease in waste and a 10% decrease in water! Nugget Markets, Davis (Mace) won in quarters one, two and four for the incredible leadership of their Green Guru who led her team to an average decrease of 15% in waste, 25% in water and 10% in energy over the same quarter the previous year! Thanks to this work ethic, Danielle Millar will be assuming the role of Sustainability Coordinator! Shea has given her heart and soul to our sustainability efforts for the last four years and taught us not only to work sustainably, but live sustainably. We want to thank Shea for her passion, enthusiasm, incredible organization and commitment, and wish her the very best moving forward! Help us give Danielle a warm welcome by connecting with her!.

Secure Sustainability at New Store

Work with store leadership at our newest store in Roseville (Blue Oaks) to ensure sustainability is a part of expectations for all associates from day one.


The easiest way to teach associates about sustainability is having sustainable best practices embedded in our expectations from the very beginning! With the opening of our second store in Roseville, we got the chance to do just that. The store itself boasts some impressive sustainability statistics (see below), but we’re even prouder of the fact that our associates started on sustainable footing even before the Grand Opening! Our new Roseville (Blue Oaks) store features:

  • State-of-the-art cooling tower which uses 90% less water and 44% less energy thanks to high-efficiency coils, that puts less stress on the overall system while being more efficient with the refrigerant
  • 100% of the store has LED lighting!
  • State-of-the-art programming controllers for lighting and refrigeration which uses daylight harvesting and automatically dims the lights during brighter times of day, saving us energy
  • Rerouting the heat energy from refrigeration and harvesting it for our hot water heater
  • Using reclaimed materials in construction including metal, metal skin and roofing
  • Automatic sensors in our back-of-house and in all walk-in coolers
  • Doors on all refrigerated cases and night shades on all open cases to be used afterhours
  • An additional eight more feet of space dedicated to organic produce

Environmental Stewardship Goals

Decrease Landfilled Material

Decrease tonnage of materials sent to the landfill


By observing our best practices in waste and through careful inspection of our waste invoices, we were able to track our progress. We have three units of measurement regarding landfilled material: tonnage of material sent to the landfill in 2021 vs. 2020, tonnage of material saved from entering the landfill in 2021 vs. 2020, and the diversion rate of material saved from entering the landfill. Being committed to an ever-increasing landfill diversion rate reduces our greenhouse gas potential, saves our waterways, supports animal welfare, waste audits and sustainable packaging goals, and engages our community.

  1. Tonnage of material sent to the landfill: We continue to have success keeping our landfill tonnage low year over year. Since 2014, we have decreased our landfill tonnage by 28%, or by more than 800 tons! Over the last several years, we have seen our waste tonnage plateau, which shows us that we are doing well diverting our recyclable material out of the landfill. In 2021, we increased our landfill tonnage from 2,144 to 2,161 tons, or a 0.7% increase. We will continue to research ways we can reduce our load on the environment.
  2. Tonnage of material saved from entering the landfill: Over the past several years, we have been able to decrease our tonnage of material entering the landfill by diverting inedible food waste into compost, edible food to our Food Recovery Program, and bone and fat from our Meat Department, used cooking oil and grease, plastics, aluminum, glass, and cardboard into new recycled products. Part of those efforts also included purchasing items made with recycled content, such as our newest addition to the checkstands: Ocean Plastic bags. These bags are made by the company Ocean Plastic, so named because these bags are made from single-use plastic that could have entered the ocean. Instead of the 40% post-consumer recycled content of our old green bags, Ocean Plastic Bags have 90% post-consumer recycled content (hence the darker grey color)! Using items with recycled content ensures that plastic actually gets recycled and creates jobs in collection, sorting and recycling. In 2021, we increased the tonnage of material diverted from the landfill by 223 tons! We did this in large part by increasing our tonnage of food donations from 800,000 to 1,000,000 pounds!
  3. Diversion rate: Our diversion rate increased from 67.8% to 68.7%. Though we are still striving for 90% or better, we are happy to be moving in the right direction given the difficult recycling landscape of the last several years.

Decrease Water Consumption

Decrease gallons of water consumed


By observing our best practices in water and through careful inspection of our water invoices, we were able to track our progress. We train our associates to work with a water-conscious mindset, conducting their day-to-day business while reducing water rather than expending water, and reporting all leaks. Thanks to some major plumbing fixes in 2021, we decreased our water consumption from 49,511,573 gallons to 38,770,867 gallons, or a 21% decrease! We are dedicated to continuing to hone our water-saving practices, identifying water-saving technology that can help us achieve our goals and lighten our water footprint.

Decrease Energy Consumption

Decrease kilowatt hours of energy consumed


By observing our best practices in energy and through careful inspection of our energy invoices, we were able to track our progress. We train our associates to work with an energy-conscious mindset, conducting their day-to-day business while reducing energy rather than expending energy. This not only helps us save money, but also ensures food safety by keeping food at temperature! In 2021, we decreased our energy consumption from 28,858,411 kilowatt hours to 27,845,350 kilowatt hours, or a 3% decrease! We are dedicated to continuing to hone our energy practices, identifying energy-saving technology that can help us achieve our goals and lighten our carbon footprint.

Economic Vitality Goals

Climate Change

Research how the grocery industry intersects with climate change.


After a wonderful conversation with a student from one of our local colleges, we would like to share the ways we are fighting climate change. We donate an incredible amount of food (see Expand Food Recovery Program above), and compost about double that amount. Many of our stores are located in food-insecure areas and in addition to food donations, we are an active participant in our communities through monetary donations and other types of support. Though we haven’t yet made the decision to switch to solar because it can’t provide us the reliable power generation we need as a business, we did switch to an alternative source of energy production that doesn’t use combustion. This allows us to see a decrease in GHG emissions both from that and from not needing to rely on backup generators which are GHG intensive. Roughly 14% of the products in our store are local and 13% are organic. COVID-19 has made bulk foods pretty difficult in terms of CA Food Health Code and Food Safety; however, we are still committed to giving our guests the option of purchasing in bulk and using their reusable bags for produce purchases. We support guests of all eating lifestyles and are proud to offer nearly every label you can think of: vegan, vegetarian, keto, primal, sugar-free, American Heart Healthy, etc. Learn more about our Lifestyle Icons and our efforts to label the foods we carry to make grocery shopping easy for any diet. We are also a part of the California Grocers Association, which is a group of independent grocers who work together to address the issues that are specific to a grocery store like ours.

Community Events

Celebrate sustainability with our guests and associates.


Earth Day: Though COVID-19 put a halt to our usual Earth Day activities, our green spirit could not be dampened! We encouraged our associates to make a Green Pledge and invited them to take part in a Sustainable Treasure Hunt. Most associates pledged to switch to reusable products and reduce their reliance on plastic. We saw an increase in the number of associates who were going to begin composting at home and even some who were going to start keeping bees! Overall, many associates wanted to be more conscious of their buying habits and reduce their overall purchases, purchase seasonally and reduce their food waste. As for the Sustainable Treasure Hunt, do you think you could solve the riddles to find these products at your local Nugget Market?

  • Though located in the dairy department, this organic milk is Dairy-Free, produced by a Local company with locally-sourced ingredients, comes in a glass bottle and has a name that is Spanish for “to drink.” (Answer: Beber)
  • This Fresh to Market sweetener is Local and from a family-owned business based out of Winters. (Answer: Fresh to Market Honey)
  • This Healthy Living item is 100% cotton and used to protect your face. (Answer: Dana Herbert)
  • This Grocery item is made from bamboo and colorfully wrapped in an on-the-go package that helps you have a reusable lunch. (Answer: To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensils)
  • This Produce item helps you move away from plastic bags. (Answer: Reusable Produce Bag)

World Food Day: With COVID-19 restrictions lightening up in our counties, we were honored to be able to shine a spotlight on hunger in our communities in honor of World Food Day. Five of our stores held World Food Day booths offering the opportunity to engage with our guests about hunger, inviting them to spin the sustainability wheel, play sustainability Connect 4 and earn some sustainable prizes.

Sustainability Networking

Grow sustainability in our industry by exchanging knowledge with our fellow businesses.

As an advocate for sustainability in our food system, our Sustainability Coordinator joined several panels this year to share her expert knowledge on reducing food waste and creating an equitable food system!

  • In April, she joined Berkeley Unified School District’s “Take Environmental Action Speaker Series” to discuss driving sustainability in retail. Watch the full video.
  • In September, she joined Recology Sonoma Marin’s “Zero Waste Novato” panel to discuss striving for zero-waste in retail.
  • In October, she joined Yolo Food Bank’s “Food for Fairness Summit” to discuss edible food recovery in an equitable and sustainable food system.
  • Ongoing, she meets regularly with other sustainability specialists in her field as part of a Sustainability Working Group to discuss issues sustainability managers face and to celebrate the areas in which they’ve achieved success.

2022 Updates to Laws

Policy Changes to Food Packaging in Sonoma County

In October 2021, jurisdictions in Sonoma County adopted the “Disposable Food Service Ware and Polystyrene Foam Ban Model Ordinance” which prohibited certain types of food packaging. After stringent review of the ordinance, we found that by exchanging a few of our products, our store would be in total compliance.

Policy Changes to Organics Recycling

In January 2019, Measure 1826 went into effect requiring businesses that generated a certain level of trash to divert food waste from the landfill. Luckily, we had been diverting food waste into fertilizer since 2012 thanks to our partnership with California Safe Soil (CSS). Based in West Sacramento, CSS collects supermarket food waste and uses enzymes to turn it into food hydrolysate, a valuable soil amendment designed to replace chemical fertilizers. In 2020, we composted 3,467,460 pounds of inedible food waste (to see how much edible food we donated to local food banks, see Food Recovery Program above)!

In January 2022, Senate Bill 1383 went into effect requiring businesses that generated a certain level of food waste to divert edible food from the compost. We’re grateful to our long-standing partnerships with local food banks (some for over 15 years!) who have already ensured we are in compliance.

Policy Changes for Retailers Selling Eggs

In January 1, 2022, Proposition 12 went into effect requiring all eggs sold in California to come from cage-free facilities. Luckily, nearly 75% of our eggs have been cage-free for years and we have been steadily approaching 100% throughout 2020 to be fully in compliance.