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Supermarkets have role to play in reducing food waste says MEP Hayes

Supermarkets have role to play in reducing food waste says MEP Hayes

Changing the way we view out of date food products could drastically reduce the amount of food we bin in our households, said Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes today (Wednesday), and supermarkets need to change marketing practices to focus on selling better, not just selling more.


“Every year, one third of food bought in supermarkets is thrown in the bin, costing households about €1000. As a nation we are binning one million tonnes of food every year – this is a hefty enough chunk of the 89 million tonnes of food wasted across Europe annually and shameful when we consider that 15% of our population has experienced food poverty at some point. This rises to 35% for those on low incomes.

“It has been estimated that all the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in Europe, the UK and the US.

“During the Christmas season, our wasteful habits are most evident. Denmark has managed to reduce its waste total by 25% over the past five years, by changing the way they look at out of date produce. Most major supermarket chains now offer food that is close to or just beyond its ‘Best Before’ or ‘Sell By’ dates, at a reduced price.

“A specialised Danish company has opened two shops in the Danish capital and is campaigning to raise awareness about its core message: that this food can still be good to eat. All of its products are donated by producers, import-export companies and supermarkets and sold at more or less half their normal price. Good news for the consumer as they are buying proper food for reduced prices – and the profits are donated to charity.

“The UK has also opened its first dedicated shop for ‘waste food’ near Leeds this year.

“Ireland’s challenge is to force, through improving our own habits, supermarkets to take on their share of social responsibility. Increasing the amount of end of life products for sale, donating these products to worthy charities, being transparent about where the excess food goes – all will go some distance towards changing how we view food and our consumption of it.”

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