Sainsbury's selects Derbyshire town for food waste innovation trial

Sainsbury's is investing £1m in a market town in Derbyshire to trial new food waste initiatives which could halve the town's waste.

Sainsburys said the year-long project could save the average family £350 a year on food bills

Sainsburys said the year-long project could save the average family £350 a year on food bills

The town of Swadlincote beat out 188 other towns and cities for the funding, which is part of a five-year £10m  project from Sainsbury’s known as Waste Less, Save More .

Swadlincote will now embark on a year-long project to test new waste-saving ideas and technology, including fridges that warn users when food is beginning to go off, bins that give tips as rubbish is put in them and incentives programmes to encourage recycling.

Other potential initiatives include a competition to find the most food-efficient residents and a search for soup recipes made from the most commonly thrown away foods.


Sainsburys said the year-long project could cut the town’s waste by up to 50%, saving the average family £350 a year on food bills alone. If the techniques were scaled up across the UK, they could save £9.3bn, Sainbury’s said.

Findings and recommendations from year one of the 'Waste Less, Save More' initiative will be developed into a blueprint and made public so that communities across the country can benefit from the results. 

Sainsbury’s says it will then focus on “making a long-term difference” and measuring the impacts, with the final phases of the project exploring opportunities to reduce other forms of waste.

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said: “When we set out in search of a town in September we never thought we’d get the overwhelming response and enthusiasm that we’ve seen from Swadlincote and hundreds of other applications. 

“Food waste is one of society’s biggest environmental issues at the moment and there is a genuine passion across the UK to tackle it.”

“We know that above all our customers care about reducing waste while saving money which is why we’ve pledged a £10 million to invest in reducing store and household waste across the UK over the next five years.”

War on Waste

Households account for roughly half of the 15 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year, with an average family throwing away around £700 of food annually.

Trewin Restorick, the founder of waste campaign group Hubbub Founder, said: “Going through the applications for Waste Less Save More I was amazed to see how much the British public wants to do to cut food waste. 

"The level of passion and commitment shown by the Swandlicote community amazed us as judges and I think they are a great starting point in Sainsbury’s ambitious project to reduce household waste in communities across the UK.”

Pressure on supermarkets to reduce waste is at an all-time high after the BBC show Hugh’s War on Waste revealed that up to 40% of farmers’ crops are being rejected by supermarkets because they are not the right shape or colour.

Retailers were quick to tell edie about the steps they're taking to tackle the problem, including ranges of 'wonky veg' and food redistribution schemes

Brad Allen


Food waste | sainsburys | technology | war


Waste & resource management
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