Food waste produced by the UK’s seven largest retailers increased by 20,000 tonnes in 2015, according to figures published on December 13 by retail trade association the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The data, in the report ‘Reducing food waste from farm to fork’, shows that retailers Asda, The Co-op, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose produced 200,000 tonnes of waste in 2015. This is up from 180,000 tonnes in 2014 and equivalent to the level of waste produced in 2013. However, the BRC said that the ‘plateauing’ figures could have been influenced by variations in the way food waste was measured by retailers and that the figures could also be sensitive to changes in operating models such as moving away from longer life products towards fresh products with a shorter life.
And, the organisation was keen to stress that the figures did not take into account the most recent initiatives undertaken by retailers in areas such as surplus food redistribution, which it said were likely to reduce food waste going forward. It also emphasised that retail waste only accounted for “2.4% of post farm gate food waste”, with much more waste created in the supply chain and at home.