Major exposé reveals retailer food waste

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Nina Pullman

BY NINA PULLMAN

@nina_pullman

Major exposé reveals retailer food waste

London’s Evening Standard has published food waste figures from the top 10 retailers and ranked them in order of donation to charity

Major exposé reveals retailer food waste

Food waste has once again hit mainstream headlines 

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A major investigation by London’s Evening Standard newspaper has ranked the 10 top supermarkets by levels of food waste using figures revealed for the first time. 

Sainsbury’s agreed to publish its food waste figures for the first time as part of the investigation, following Tesco’s lead when it became the first retailer to do so three years ago.

The paper worked out the final ranking by using tonnes of food supermarkets donate to charity as a percentage of their total surplus. Only Sainsbury’s and Tesco supplied their actual surplus, so the figure was estimated for others by applying their market share to the 240,000-tonne surplus reported by Wrap for the retail sector as a whole, the Standard said.

In a hugely comprehensive investigation, the paper looked at the figures in context of severe food poverty across London, and questioned why leading retailers do not donate more unsold food to charities.

Campaigns editor for the Standard, David Cohen, wrote: “We are indebted to the supermarkets on whose honesty this table relies. Their donation figures are self-reported and have not been independently verified. We hope that, like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, they will go further and respond to our call for full transparency.”

Cohen said the figures reveal the reality “beyond the hype”, pointing out that even the top-ranked supermarket, Sainsbury’s, sends 90 per cent of its fresh surplus to anaerobic digestion or animal feed, rather than donation to charity.

The full investigation can be viewed here.  

Retailers ranked by percentage of surplus food they donate to charities:

1) Sainsbury's: 7.6 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 38,767 tonnes

Food donated: 2,935 tonnes

2) Tesco: 4.5 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 62,200 tonnes

Food donated: 2,800 tonnes

3) Waitrose: 3.3 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 12,960 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: 431 tonnes (estimate derived from reported £862,000 food donations and using a metric of £2,000 to one tonne)

4) Asda: 3.3 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 33,120 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: 1,100 tonnes

5) Co-op: 2.4 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 12,720 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: 309 tonnes

6) Marks and Spencer: 1.6 per cent to charity 

Food surplus: 10,320 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: 168 tonnes

7) Aldi: 0.5 per cent to charity

Food surplus: 13,440 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: 63 tonnes

8) Morrisons: Not disclosed

Food surplus: 24,720 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: Not disclosed

9) Lidl: Not disclosed

Food surplus: 10,320 tonnes (estimate based on market share)

Food donated: Not disclosed

10) Iceland: 0 per cent to charity 

Food surplus: 2,080 tonnes (estimate based on one-third of market share, reduced due to high frozen content)

Food donated: None

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