Needham Market: Baroness urges supermarkets to end ‘buy one get one free’ deals to tackle issue of food waste
17:58 08 April 2014
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 Suffolk peer has said.
Baroness Scott of Needham Market, who is chairman of The Lords EU Committee, 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.
Baroness 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.”
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.
Baroness 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.
The 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.
More unused food should be donated to food banks, the committee added.