Supermarket chains are throwing away the equivalent of 190 million meals a year that could be given to the hungry.
Britain’s top 10 chains are donating less than 9 per cent of their surplus food for human consumption. The worst-performing supermarkets were Sainsbury’s and Iceland, with 3.8 and 1.7 per cent donated respectively. Tesco, meanwhile, was top with 13.7 per cent, while Aldi and Co-op also managed above 10 per cent.
Just 24,242 tons was passed on to the needy out of 282,338 tons of unsold food approaching its use-by or best-before date.
Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) says that an additional 80,000 tons of the leftover food would have been suitable to donate. Every 1,000 tons amounts to 2.4 million meals.
For 2019-20, 258,096 tons were either sent for animal feed or pulped in crushers at the back of superstores and sent to anaerobic digestion plants to produce biogas or fertiliser.
In the first few weeks of lockdown, up to 3.7 million adults sought charity food or used a food bank, while the plight of those struggling to feed children has been highlight.
Clare Oxborrow of Friends of the Earth said, “It is clearly unacceptable that with a climate and ecological crisis, as well as rising poverty and hunger, supermarkets in the UK are wasting tens of thousands of tons of edible food. The land, water and energy used to produce, then dispose of, uneaten food is sickening.”