27-11-2015 | A skip full of food waste has been delivered to various supermarket headquarters across the UK, as part of a new campaign supported by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and environmentalist George Monbiot.
The Stop the Rot campaign group brought the skip, along with a 190,000 strong petition, to the offices of Tesco and Sainsburys yesterday (26 November), with campaigners calling on the supermarket giants to commit to more ambitious food waste reduction targets of at least 30% by 2025.
It follows on from exposure generated by Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste TV series, which revealed that as much as 40% of farmers’ crops are being rejected by supermarkets because they are not the right shape or colour.
London Food Board chair Rosie Boycott, who put forward this latest campaign on Change.org, said: “We need urgent change to address supply chain food waste. Consumers are currently asked to do the lion’s share of tackling food waste, but many businesses waste more in a day than a consumer does in a year.
“We need greater transparency from supermarkets about the waste in their supply chains, and ambitious commitments to reduce it. With enough public pressure, we can achieve that.”
The 30% food waste reduction would apply across stores and in manufacturing supplies. It also calls on supermarkets and the UK government to fund vital measurements of farm food waste by 2018.
Currently, around seven million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK grocery supply chains before it even reaches a consumers plate.
Commenting on the Stop the Rot campaign, Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “The cost of UK food waste is currently borne by the environment, our farmers and producers, and by the consumers who pay for food that doesn’t even get to them. Lifting the lid on food waste in our supply chains, and tackling it, makes sense for everyone.
“It’s time to Stop the Rot.”
Despite the campaign, supermarkets are putting steps in place to help slash food waste. The UK’s leading retailers have already banded together to reduce supermarket food waste by 20,000 tonnesover the past year.
Tesco recently announced it is donating a further 700,000 meals from its 10 distribution centres to charities in an attempt to reduce the amount of surplus food the company is producing.
Sainsburys is also trialling innovative solutions with its Cannock store named as the UK’s first supermarket to run on electricity generated solely from food waste.
However, the UK remains the worst-performing country in Europe when it comes to food waste, throwing away almost 6kg of food per household every week. Across the globe, 1.3 billion tonnes is binned annually to the point that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest carbon emitter behind the US and China.