Supermarket Waste

Supermarkets need to do more to tackle waste says Women’s Institute

A new report by the Women’s Institute (WI) has urged supermarkets to do more to tackle food waste, from changing out-of-date labels, to getting rid of multipack packaging.

Research by the organisation found that “once-opened” instructions were often contradictory and failed to make clear whether the recommendations were about food safety or quality.

According to the findings only 45 per cent of its 220,000 members understood that best before dates were an indicator of food quality.  Additionally, 47 per cent of its members told the WI that they use date labelling as a guide to the age of its food while 41 per cent said that they assess food on its own merits — such as smell.

Research also found that 75 per cent of supermarkets offered at least one type of multi-buy on fresh, perishable products. With multi-pack offers often leading to waste, 91 per cent of WI members said that they would rather be offered a reduction on a single item than be encouraged to buy bulkier multi-pack buys.

Marylyn Haines Evans, chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institute’s public affairs said:

WI members are some of the more informed members of society about food and cookery, so the fact that they are still confused about food labelling and ‘once-opened’ information is a damning indication that supermarkets must do more to help all consumers reduce their food waste and ultimately save money.

“We would like supermarkets to extend the amount of time that consumers have to use a product in their homes by making all of their once-opened instructions on product packaging consistent and reflective of the true full open-life of the product, and for all once-opened instructions to be completely removed on products where food safety is not an issue.”

Over the past few years food waste has risen in the UK with 7.3 million tonnes being wasted in 2015 compared to 7 million in 2012.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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