Retailers and charities meet to tackle food waste
Food retailers are meeting today to discuss government backed proposals to get more of the surplus food left on supermarket shelves to redistribution charities.
Alliance Boots, Asda, The Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose are attending the meeting in London, along with representatives from the British Retail Consortium, IGD, Food and Drink Federation, and food charities FareShare and FoodCycle.
The retailers are being brought together by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman to explore ways of getting more unwanted food into kitchens rather than landfill.
Spelman said: "Preventing food waste protects the environment, helps communities and makes good business sense. Charities and retailers are already working together to make great use of surplus food and I’m hosting the roundtable today to look at new ways to make the system work even better."
Under a proposal backed by the government, retailers would log details of products approaching the end of their shelf-life on a database.
Charities, who are increasingly working with families who cannot afford to feed themselves, would use the information to arrange pick-ups of food and other unsold products set aside during the week by stores. Charities would then put together parcels or cook meals using the surplus food and distribute it to the needy.
British Retail Consortium Director of Food and Sustainability, Andrew Opie, said: "Retailers’ prime objective is eliminating food waste from their operations entirely. Currently, only 5% of overall food waste comes from shops. But retailers are long-standing supporters of food charities. The businesses involved in today’s meeting are already ensuring that what useable excess stock there is goes to people who need it."
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