Choice and suppliers cause food waste, says foodbank boss
CONSUMER choice and forceful suppliers have been blamed for the waste culture exposed by figures released by a grocery giant yesterday.
David Hartridge, project manager at Swindon Foodbank, aired his views after Tesco revealed it had thrown away almost 30,000 tons of food in the first six months of the year.
Publishing its food waste figures for the first time, the retailer said 68 per cent of salad sold in bags was thrown out – 35 per cent of it by customers.
It found that 40 per cent of apples were wasted, as were just under half all bakery items. The retailer is to introduce measures to reduce wastage, including developing promotions for smaller bags of salad.
The news was met with disappointment by David, whose organisation relies upon companies donating food instead of wasting it.
“Some of the problem is too much consumer choice. That adds complexity to supply chains and it’s very difficult for a retailer to balance its stocks,” he said.
“Part of it is fuelled by suppliers wanting to promote their products and be quite forceful and aggressive in the way they flog their products.
“As a society we became very wasteful. It’s evidenced by the fact it’s often cheaper to throw a printer away than buy new cartridges.
“Manufacturers should take some blame for that and their pricing policy.
“We are currently buying more food than we could possibly consume. The foodbank is able to supply to these people who can’t necessarily buy the food that they really, really need.
“We need to think again about what food we buy and what we do with it.”
Balula’s Delicatessen, in Wood Street, Old Town, houses a premium food hall and coffee lounge, with plenty of perishable produce.
Owner Nick Smith said food wastage was rarely a problem; his business could sell its own products in the cafe before they expired.
“We try and use everything,” he said. “If we see something out of date we pull it off the shelf and use it in the cafe. It’s very minimal though; there isn’t a lot we will have left over going to waste.”
Waste was problematic when the outlet opened three years ago.
Nick said: “At first, we were unsure what we needed, but over the years we worked out what we sell and what we use in the cafe.
“If we do have something which goes out of date we take it to the foodbank, or, I have two or three charities calling us every week.”
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