Major supermarkets have pledged to reveal the amount of food they discard in an effort to cut the millions of tonnes wasted every year.
Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and the Co-operative, will collectively release regular updates on the amount of food thrown out by stores from early next year, the British Retail Consortium has said. Tesco was first to release its figures, in October, revealing it generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste at its stores and distribution centres in the first six months of last year alone.
It announced it will drop some food promotions after finding two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salad is wasted – 35% in the home. The retailer also found that 40% of apples are wasted, as are just under half of bakery items. Figures from the Government’s waste reduction advisory body, Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), say 15m tonnes of food are discarded every year in the UK. The BRC said the UK retail industry will announce a range of “ambitious” targets today, including a collective pledge to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, “putting the industry well on course to meet the 80% overall target set by the UK Climate Change Bill”.
It said supermarkets have committed to publish data on food waste created at the retail stage, along with annual progress reports. Other targets to be announced today include a commitment to reducing emissions from refrigeration gases by 80% by 2020, and to divert less than 1% of waste to landfill by the same year.