The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has launched an investigation to look into the economic, social and environmental impact of food waste in the UK.
Although it is accepted that there is significant amounts of wastage throughout all stages of the supply chain, 85 per cent of food waste (post-manufacture) comes from homes at 8 million tonnes per year.
Research has shown that on average, families spend £700 a year on food that is wasted, something that EFRA blames on supermarkets for “pushing food people don’t need”.
It has been suggested that the inquiry could lead to an evaluation and the enactment of new laws regarding food pricing strategies in supermarkets.
According to Neil Parish, MP and chairman of the Committee, he told The Telegraph that MPs plan to use the inquiry to “push down hard” on retailers.
Talking to the newspaper, he continued:
As a nation there are more people living alone then ever before, but shops haven’t caught up with this. They should not be pushing food people don’t need – especially if its close to being out of date.
“It might be convenient for supermarkets to sell fresh food in large quantities but it is not always very convenient for customers, so this needs to change.”
The investigation, which is to give evidence later in the year, is inviting evidence that will help answer important questions:
- What is the economic, environmental and social impact of food waste in England?
- What measures could be most effective in reducing food waste by retailers, the hospitality sector, local government, and consumers?
- What proposals are necessary to further reduce food waste?
- How effective are existing voluntary initiatives in England and is there a need for legislation?
- What are the comparative approaches to reducing and managing food waste in the devolved nations, and across Europe?
Written evidence can be submitted on the inquiry page itself, with evidence being no longer than 3,000 words.