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Speaking yesterday (Tuesday 11 December) at a House of Lords inquiry into food waste, Tesco group food sourcing director Matt Simister said domestic consumers were unwilling to consider imperfect fruit and vegetables.

He said UK customers picked the “cream of the crop”, unlike their counterparts in Eastern Europe.

Supermarkets could do more to address the problem, he added.

Simister told the House of Lords’ European Union sub-committee on agriculture that he was looking at options to encourage people to buy the “old, ugly, misshapen” fruit and vegetables that tend to go to waste.

He added: “Customers naturally select, they always pick the cream of the crop first and the rest gets left. Then the new deliveries come in and you have the new cream of the crop. The old, ugly misshapen goes to waste. Customers will always choose the one that cosmetically looks better.”

This year, Tesco published its total food waste figures for the first time, revealing that 28,500 tonnes was wasted in the first six months. Bagged salad was a particular problem, with more than 66% of all salad sold in bags by Tesco being waste, along with 40% of apples and 20% of bananas. Tesco has scrapped ‘display until’ dates on fruit and vegetables.

Liz Gyekye

 

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