Supermarkets to slash food waste in bid to end ‘moral scandal’

PUBLISHED: 10:28 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 13 May 2019

Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose will pledge to halve food waste by 2030. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose will pledge to halve food waste by 2030. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Supermarkets and retailers are set to join forces to slash food waste across the UK, ahead of the introduction of ambitious government targets to tackle the “moral scandal” of the 10.2m tonnes of food thrown away in Britain every year.

Major players, including supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Waitrose, will commit to halving the amount of food waste they produce by 2030, in line with around 300 businesses and individuals.

It comes as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says Britain wastes 10.2 million tonnes of food each year - with 1.8 million tonnes from food manufacturing, 1 million from the hospitality sector, and 260,000 from retail, with the remainder from households.

Nestlé, the world's largest food and drink company, will also sign up to the ambitious target at a food waste symposium held in London later today, (Monday, May 13).

The event will see environment secretary Michael Gove describe the issue as "an environmental, economic and moral scandal," and pledge: "Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious food is thrown away.

"I am determined to tackle it.

"I urge businesses to join me in signing the pledge to deliver real change to stop good food going to waste."

Philanthropist Ben Elliot, who was appointed as the government's food surplus and waste champion in 2018, is also expected to say: "Climate change is no longer a buzzword - we must all stand up and be counted.

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"We squander 10 million tonnes of food and drink every year.

"Businesses throw away food worth an estimated £5 billion and £15 billion is wasted from our homes (on average around £500 a year).

"The emissions this creates is the equivalent of every third car on the road.

"We simply must put an end to this."

The Step Up to the Plate symposium, at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, will see attendees sign up to a number of pledges to measure and reduce their food waste and inspire others to take action.

The pledges include:

- Aiming to halve food waste by 2030, in line with a United Nations goal for sustainable development;

- Embracing a 'Food Conversation' week of action in November 2019 to highlight changes the public can make;

- Using their voices and profiles to empower and encourage others, including the younger generation;

- And changing their habits as an individual to be a Food Value Champion at work and at home, buying only what they need and eating what they buy.

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