Food Waste

MPs call for tighter food waste targets and wonky veg in supermarkets

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Defra) has reported that 7.3 million tonnes of food was wasted in households in 2015.

It described waste levels as “unacceptable” and said that householders have a key role in reducing waste.

Suggestions for improvements made by MPs include the standardisation of wonky vegetables in supermarkets and the removal of “best before” dates on packaging.

Committee chairman Neil Parish said that:

One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, and in the UK over £10 billion worth of food is thrown away by households every year.

“Economically, food waste costs households hundreds of pounds a year and causes increased disposal costs to local authorities, pushing up council tax bills.

“Socially, it is a scandal that people are going hungry and using food banks when so much produce is being wasted.

“And environmentally, it is a disaster, because energy and resources are wasted in production only for the food to end up rotting in landfills where it produces methane – a potent climate-changing gas.”

MPs have said that an ambitious reduction should be set to cut food waste. Currently, the £10 billion cost equates to approximately £200 per person a year.

Raising awareness should also be introduced from a young age and the Government should examine how children are taught about food waste in schools it has been suggested.

Andrew Opie, Director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said:

Tackling food waste is key to making the food supply chain more sustainable and we know retailers are pivotal to achieving that both directly in their businesses and supporting and working with partners; from farmers to customers.

“Retailers continue to work to deliver the food waste reduction targets agreed with the four UK Governments, but we also need to have a better, more comprehensive discussion about the environment; one that considers how we build a sustainable economy in its entirety, rather than focusing on single elements such as food waste.”

Defra has also commended both Tesco and Sainsbury’s for moving in the right direction in regards food waste as both have begun sustainable actions to help consumers understand food waste while giving away surplus food.

Currently however, Tesco is the only supermarket that publicly reports the amount of food that it throws away.

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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