Food waste 'morally repugnant'

Romsey Advertiser: More unused food should be donated to food banks, rather than sent for composting or landfill, a Lords committee said More unused food should be donated to food banks, rather than sent for composting or landfill, a Lords committee said

Supermarkets should move away from offers such as "buy one get one free" to help end the "morally repugnant" waste of millions of tonnes of food, a House of Lords committee has said.

The Lords EU Committee also said big retailers should stop cancelling orders of food from farmers after the produce has been grown, a practice which leads to edible food being ploughed back into the fields. And they said that more unused food should be donated to food banks, rather than sent for composting or landfill.

Committee chairwoman Baroness Scott of Needham Market said the peers were "shocked" at the scale of food waste, which sees 15 million tonnes of food dumped each year in the UK and at least 90 million tonnes across the EU as a whole.

In a report, the committee said the EU's efforts to reduce food waste were "fragmented and untargeted" and called for the new European Commission to publish a five-year strategy within six months of taking office later this year.

Lady Scott said: "Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it has serious economic and environmental implications.

"The fact that 90 million tonnes of food is wasted across the EU each year shows the extent of the problem and explains why we are calling for urgent action. Globally, consumers in industrialised nations waste up to 222 million tonnes of food a year, which is equivalent to nearly the entire level of net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa.

"We cannot allow the complexity of the issues around defining and monitoring food waste to delay action any further. We are calling on the new European Commission, which will be appointed in November this year, to publish a five-year strategy for reducing food waste across the EU, and to do so within six months of taking office."

The report found that the carbon footprint of worldwide food waste is equivalent to twice the global greenhouse gas emissions of all road transportation in the US.

Lady Scott added: "There is also much that can be done domestically, and in particular by the big retailers, to reduce food waste. We are urging the supermarkets to look again at offers such as 'buy one get one free', which can encourage excess consumption which leads to food waste. We also think supermarkets must work much more closely with their suppliers so as not to cancel pre-ordered food which has been grown, is perfectly edible and is then ploughed straight back into the field.

"The UK Government have a role to play in encouraging co-operation throughout the supply chain. They can also consider whether tax incentives might be used to encourage retailers to ensure unsold food that is still fit for human consumption is actually eaten by people, for example by working with food banks, rather than sent to compost or for energy recovery, or even landfill, as is often the case at present.

"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."

Comments (3)

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12:27am Sun 6 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

If the supermarkets gave such 'excess' food to government agencies each night - and the latter were also repsonsible for the housing of those who cannot manage their own finances (those in council housing for instance), I see a bright new future whereby institutionalised care ensures that tax payer resources are not wasted on luxuries by these dependent souls and a situation in which their nutritional intake is improved.
If the supermarkets gave such 'excess' food to government agencies each night - and the latter were also repsonsible for the housing of those who cannot manage their own finances (those in council housing for instance), I see a bright new future whereby institutionalised care ensures that tax payer resources are not wasted on luxuries by these dependent souls and a situation in which their nutritional intake is improved. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

2:01am Sun 6 Apr 14

EndGroceryWaste says...

The large amount of food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. We should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of perishable food items close to their expiration on supermarket shelves causes waste.
The consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior might be one of the weakest links of the fresh food supply chain.
The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables applications that encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill.
The “End Grocery Waste” application, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint. You can look this application up at EndGroceryWaste.com

Rod,
Chicago, IL
The large amount of food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. We should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of perishable food items close to their expiration on supermarket shelves causes waste. The consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior might be one of the weakest links of the fresh food supply chain. The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables applications that encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill. The “End Grocery Waste” application, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint. You can look this application up at EndGroceryWaste.com Rod, Chicago, IL EndGroceryWaste
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Sun 6 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

The plain fact is, far too much food, of all types, is being produced.

Far too much, therefore, is bought simply because with the daily glut on supermarket shelves can only be bought due to it being sold too cheap.

In m,y own home, we have come to the conclusion we are holding far more food on stock than we really need, so I have to tell Tesco, and the rest, you will see less of us at the checkout in the future, until our stocks are somewhat depleted.
If that impacts further, to the farmer, then maybe the CAP needs urgent reform, as it would seem the food and drinks mountains and lakes if apparently no longer visible in the fields, are certainly visible in the skips behind the shops.
The plain fact is, far too much food, of all types, is being produced. Far too much, therefore, is bought simply because with the daily glut on supermarket shelves can only be bought due to it being sold too cheap. In m,y own home, we have come to the conclusion we are holding far more food on stock than we really need, so I have to tell Tesco, and the rest, you will see less of us at the checkout in the future, until our stocks are somewhat depleted. If that impacts further, to the farmer, then maybe the CAP needs urgent reform, as it would seem the food and drinks mountains and lakes if apparently no longer visible in the fields, are certainly visible in the skips behind the shops. varteg1
  • Score: 0
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