House of Lords urges supermarkets to end 'Bogof' deals
The House of Lords EU Committee has called for retailers to take more responsibility for helping to reduce food waste as it highlights at least 90 million tonnes of food is wasted across the EU each year.
In a new report, the Committee said that efforts across the EU to reduce food waste were 'fragmented and untargeted' and called on the new European Commission, to be established in November, to publish a five-year strategy on food waste prevention within six months.
In particular, the report calls for the big supermarkets to take more responsibility for limiting food waste by both farmers and consumers. It suggests that supermarkets should move away from 'buy one get one free' offers for certain types of produce, and “work harder to avoid cancelling orders of food that has already been grown by producers,” adding that it leads to unsold but edible food being ploughed back into the fields or left unharvested.
In addition, the Committee is calling for Government action to encourage retailers to redistribute unsold food, where safe, for human and animal consumption rather than recycling it via anaerobic digestion. It also suggests that VAT rates could be amended and tax breaks offered to encourage supermarkets to donate edible unsold food to food banks rather sending it to be composted.
Baroness Scott, who chaired the Sub-Committee that conducted the inquiry, said: “We were shocked at the extent of food waste in the EU. Especially given the current economic challenges the EU faces, it is an absolutely shocking waste of resources. Some efforts are already being made, which is very positive, but much more can be done, and so we are calling on the EU, the Government, businesses and consumers to make sure it is."
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