UK supermarkets have reduced food waste by 20,000 tonnes

A group of UK leading supermarkets has teamed up to fight food waste, reaching incredible results in only 12 months.

A group of UK leading retailers teamed up to reduce supermarket food waste. In 2014, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), they managed to reduce food waste by 20,000 tonnes. Asda, Co-operative Food, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose reduced, from 200,000 to 180,000 tonnes, the edible food being thrown away over the past year.

Marks and Spencer © Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The report has been edited by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which along with the retailers agreed to a set of common rules to make the report as clear and accurate as possible. Supermarkets waste 1% of UK’s total food, equal to about 15 million tonnes. The cooperation aims to raise the awareness of other actors involved in the food supply chain, from farmers to consumers, on the need of reducing food waste.

Tesco found that 41 per cent of food waste in its supermarkets is due to the bakery departments. The group thus adopted a strategy aimed to reduce the amount of bread baked at a time. Moreover, Tesco decided to donate part of surplus food to charities. This is an initiative with economic, social, environmental, and educational values.

Tesco © Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Similarly, Marks and Spencer has announced the launch of a redistribution programme that involves 150 of the UK’s largest supermarkets. Food surplus is donated to a group of local organisations helping needy people.

A volunteer of the Food Bank in Scotland © Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The choice of these leading retailers is in line with the coalition made of environmental associations and multinationals including WWF, Pepsi, Sodexo, Unilever, and McCain. The International Food Waste Coalition (IFWC) has been presented on 16 October, in occasion of the World Food Day. It aims to reduce food waste in Europe through targeted intervention in the entire food supply chain.

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