Top U.K. Groceries, Brands Commit to Reduce Food Waste

Top U.K. Groceries, Brands Commit to Reduce Food Waste

The United Kingdom's top grocery stores and many major brands and suppliers have committed to cutting the amount of food being trashed.

The companies aim to reduce food waste by 155,000 tonnes by 2010, against a baseline set in 2008. The initiative is being run under the Waste & Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) Love Food Hate Waste campaign. WRAP estimates that such a reduction would avoid the emission of nearly 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Love Food Hate Waste was founded in November 2007 after research showed the U.K. was throwing away 6.7 million tonnes of food a year, about a third of food purchased.

The 37 companies that are now working to cut food waste are all signatories of the Courtauld Commitment, which was originally established in 2005 and includes pledges to reduce packaging waste growth and overall packaging waste.

Most food waste happens on the consumer end, and the companies will be investigating a number of ways to change consumer habits as well as make food last longer. They plan to look at better storage techniques, package sizes, packaging designed to keep food fresher longer, labeling, and advice on storage and using leftovers. The companies will focus on meat and fish, diary, bakery products and fruit and vegetables.

Retailer Sainsbury's is already providing advice on storing fresh produce both in its stores and its website, and retailer Asda has changed how it runs certain promotions for products with short shelf lives. Instead of applying a promotion to one type of produce, it will apply it to multiple items so that customers don't end up buying too much of one product that ends up going bad.

Food waste photo - CC license by Lunauna