Campaigns including Countdown’s The Odd Bunch, Tesco’s Perfectly Imperfect range, and Asda’s Wonky Veg initiative that see imperfect fresh produce sold in supermarkets at lower prices have been cited as one of the best methods to prevent unnecessary food waste. Recent surveys have indicated that around 92 percent of customers hold supermarkets responsible for ensuring food wastage is reduced.
However, consumers also have a role in reducing food waste with approximately 70 percent of survey respondents stating they throw food away regularly, with a portion of these noting produce over-ripens too quickly. To counteract issues of food waste on the consumer’s side, several steps supermarkets could take have been suggested including providing smaller packages of fresh or perishable produce and packing food in packaging that prolongs product life. Supermarket deals that encourage shoppers to over-purchase often result in food waste as the consumers often cannot eat produce before it expires.
“It’s clear consumers want to see retailers doing more to minimise waste, such as selling more loose produce and smaller portions. But in reality, convenience is a huge driver for consumers and every day low prices come from supermarkets being able to sell in packs. Retailers have the capability and information to help consumers waste less, but both sides need to work more closely in order to understand the implications of change,” said Paul Harvey, partner at consultancy firm Newton.