Supermarkets attacked as cost of food waste soars

Supermarkets have come under fire from council leaders for not doing enough to cut down on food waste as the cost of dealing with it reached a staggering £13.7 billion last year.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging major food retailers to take greater responsibility for customer purchasing habits and drop multi-buy deals such as ‘BOGOF’ which encourage people to buy more than they need.

It suggests replacing them with other schemes such as discounts on individual products which offer customers the same value without incentivising over-buying.

LGA environment board vice chairman, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “The average family in England spent £520 last year on food and drink which wasn’t eaten.

“With more than five million tonnes of edible food thrown out each year, way too much food is being brought into homes in the first place. Retailers need to take a large slice of responsibility for that.”

Retailers and manufacturers claim that they have prevented 670,000 tonnes of food waste since signing up to the voluntary Courtauld Commitment to tackle waste in 2005.

However, new analysis by the LGA revealed that the cost of buying and throwing away good food and drink reached £13.7 billion last year.

The study, which combined the purchasing price of food which wasn’t eaten with the cost to council tax-payers of sending it to landfill, found that households paid an estimated £520 each for uneaten food over the past 12 months.

The LGA is also calling on retailers to set more ambitious waste reduction goals to bring them into line with improvements in waste management being produced by local authorities and residents.

Maxine Perella

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