UK’s Supermarkets say NO to food waste?
There seems to be an expectation from consumers for big brands to do all they can to be environmentally friendly and part of the local community. Supermarket giants do this by continuously trying to cut the amount of food they waste. According to Food Aware CIC [ every year in the UK 18 million tonnes of food end up in landfill approximately 1/3 from producers and supply chain, 1/3 from retail and 1/3 from households. This amounts to £23 billion annually.
Unfortunately, the percentage of families in the UK that are unable to properly feed their household is shocking and one that I have had to witness personally myself. However, foodbanks are there to provide the necessities that many families cannot afford and supermarkets donate a huge percentage to these needy charities in a bid to end food poverty.
Having worked in a supermarket myself I have seen the drastic changes over the last decade regarding food waste. The food that was thrown into a compactor at the end of the night was uncomfortable to watch and morally very wrong however, this has changed to the point that they now only throw away food that is unsuitable for human consumption. This move is great to see and made me proud of the organisation that I was part of.
Here’s what 3 of the top supermarkets are doing to crack down on food waste:
Tesco has announced a new training programme Tesco Community Cookery School with TV Chef Jamie Oliver. The program has been developed in partnership with FareShare and will help community groups by offering training and advice on how to prepare nutritionally balanced meals out of surplus food donations.
One of the challenges in receiving donations can be knowing what to do with unusual ingredients or large quantities of products. This will help communities put the donations to the best use possible.
Zero to land fill
Tesco has been focusing on reducing food waste for over a decade. Since then, every week it donates 300,000 meals of surplus food to over 7,000 different community and charity groups. Also, the largest proportion of food waste was classified as “bakery” which is sometimes unsuitable for donations. These are instead collected separately and diverted to animal feed.
30 Community Fridges have been implemented to allow perishable food that would have been wasted to be shared with local people.
The fridges encourage local businesses and residents to share surplus food items. By funding community fridges Sainsburys have helped thousands in the UK connect to their communities, access nutritious food, save money and reduce waste.
The right date
Asda are alwayslooking at ways to reduce the amount of time it takes to get products on to our shelves. They looked at products where we had shortened the supply chain and used the extra days to increase our best before dates for customer. This has added 1,800 extra days of life across their fruit and veg.
They have changed date codes depending on the seasons. They have extended the shelf life on strawberries during the UK growing season but reduced it over winter when they come from further afield. They have also reviewed products where they could remove best before dates altogether.
They have adjusted their requirements for farmers taking more splits and misshaped vegetables which has saved over 300 tonnes of carrot waste in one year! By making small changes, a further 3,000 tonnes of fresh produce can be sold on our shelves. The differences won’t be noticeable to customers but the savings for our growers in terms of food waste will be huge.
Fantastic measures are being taken across all the supermarkets. This coupled with the great lengths being taken to use less plastic across the businesses they seem to be taking their environmental footprint seriously.
What are you doing to be more conscious of food waste? A great way to start is by making a donation to your local foodbank – Click to make a difference today
Also, what are you doing in your business that is contributing to cutting food waste? I would love to hear your company initiatives and we can celebrate the successes that are making a difference all over the UK.