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Morrisons reveals food waste stats for first time

Retailer joins Tesco and Sainsbury’s in publishing figures as it steps up efforts to drive down waste

Morrisons reveals food waste stats for first time

Morrisons sold 50 varieties of 'wonky' fresh produce in 2017/18

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Morrisons has published its food waste data for the first time, revealing that over 11,000 tonnes of food was recorded as out-of-date stock in 2017/18.

The supermarket chain joins rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s, both of which already publish their food waste statistics.

Working with third party data analyst, Valpak Limited, Morrisons said it had developed a methodology to record food wasted in its stores by weight.

In the 2017/18 financial year some 11,028.8t of food was recorded as damaged or out of date stock.

This waste was collected by waste contractors at the back of stores for recycling and reprocessing where possible, the retailer reported.

A proportion of edible food recorded as waste was also used in colleague canteens and sales to staff, however this is “not currently accurately captured at store level”, Morrisons said.

Over the course of the year 796.89t of surplus food was donated to local community groups through the supermarket chain’s unsold food programme, with 3.4 million edible unsold food items donated to charities since 2016.

In addition, 140,000 meals were donated to FareShare through surplus food in Morrisons’ manufacturing sites and 50 seasonal varieties of wonky veg were sold throughout the year.

The chief executive of FareShare, Morrisons’ food redistribution partner, said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Morrisons. Thanks to collaboration across multiple production sites, FareShare is able to access a range of fresh, nutritious food that is in such high demand by the thousands of frontline charities we support – items like fresh fish, potatoes and fruit.”

The news follows Tesco’s announcement earlier in May that it had failed to reach its two-year target of having zero food waste from its UK operations by the end of 2017/18.

An independent analysis of waste at Tesco by KPMG showed that the supermarket had only achieved 64 per cent of its aim by February 2018.

The annual report showed that total food waste across its UK stores had in fact increased by about 6,500t from 46,684t to 53,126t, however the level of waste remained stable at around 0.5 per cent of food sales.

The supermarket put the volume increase down to sales growth across its food business as its recovery continued, as well as initiatives to drive down waste further up the supply chain, The Grocer reported.

The retailer said its decision to take more ‘wonky’ veg from growers and make the most of the crop had also led to a rise in unsold fresh produce in store.

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