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Four out of five people would consider changing supermarkets over food waste

16 Oct 2017

Four of of five people would consider switching supermarkets if their current shop was not doing enough to tackle food waste, according to a survey by charity Tearfund.

The research, released to mark World Food Day, is part of Tearfund’s ‘Renew Our Food’ initiative, which is asking supermarkets to halve their food waste by 2030 and publish a plan for how they will achieve that.

“Even before our food arrives in store, we know that a third of vegetable crops aren’t harvested because of supermarkets’ cosmetic standards,” said Tearfund’s Advocacy Director Dr Ruth Valerio.

The survey asked whether participants would be more likely to shop at supermarkets if they knew they were doing well at reducing food waste.

Over three quarters said they would, with a third replying that they definitely would.

Dr Valerio added: “These stats show that almost all of us want to see our supermarkets do more to tackle food waste.

“A third of all food produced in the world will never be eaten. This can’t be right and shops and suppliers can do their part by committing to halve what they waste and show us how they plan to do that.

“Thousands of people have already taken the Renew Our Food pledge to waste less food at home and called for their supermarket to play their part too.”

The campaign against food waste is part of the Renew Our World campaign which is tackling climate change.

Wasting food has a big carbon footprint, making climate change worse and leading to more droughts, floods and less reliable rain - leaving people in poorer countries struggling to feed themselves.

The latest figures indicate that the UK wastes around 10 million tonnes of food every year (across households, hospitality, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors) and 60% of this could be avoided.

This has a value of over £17 billion a year, and is associated with around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

It remains impossible for the British public to know which supermarkets are doing well at reducing their food waste as most retailers’ data is not publicly available or comparable. So far, only Tesco and Sainsbury’s have released their in-store food waste data.

Despite the UN urging governments and companies to commit to halving food waste by 2030, UK supermarkets have been slow to do so.

Tearfund’s campaign is calling for all of the major supermarkets to commit to halving their food waste in operations and publish a roadmap on how they propose to achieve this.


Notes to editor

  • For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Tearfund’s media team: Rehema Figueiredo on 020 3906 3131 / 07962 242421 / [email protected] 
  • Out of hours, please contact: 07710 573749 
  • Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee 
  • Renew Our World is a global movement of Christians praying, living and campaigning to make the world fair and sustainable, so that everyone, everywhere can enjoy fullness of life. 
  • Statistics on food waste in the UK come from WRAP and the Institute of Mechanical Engineering 
  • 633 of Tearfund’s supporters were asked “If you knew which supermarkets were doing well at reducing their food waste, would you be more likely to shop at their stores?” 495 people (78%) responded yes they would. Of this, 205 people answered that they definitely would.

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