Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sainsbury's To Drop Its Bid To Halve Household Food Waste


Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has scaled back an ambitious target to get consumers to halve their household food waste after finding it was more difficult than expected to achieve behavioural change.

Sainsbury’s launched its “Waste Less, Save More” programme in 2016 – a £10m five-year plan to help customers save money by reducing their food waste. Using official statistics showing that the average UK family throws away £700 of food each year, the supermarket set a target of getting households to slash this by 50%.

But at the end of a one-year £1m trial in the market town of Swadlincote, Derbyshire – the first in the UK to engage consumers and find new ways to reduce their waste – it has been abandoned as it is unlikely to be met.

The goal is in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development target of halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains by 2030.

The UN estimates that global food loss and waste causes about $940bn (£770bn) a year in economic losses, with a third of the world’s food wasted while one in nine people remain malnourished.

The UK churns out 15m tonnes of food waste a year – 7.3m tonnes from households. The estimated retail value of this food is £7.5bn and the government’s waste advisory body, Wrap, has calculated that a typical family wastes £700 of food a year.

Sainsbury’s – the UK’s second largest supermarket – has produced a battery of gadgets, such as food-sharing apps and smart fridges, for householders to test in its pioneering experiment.

“Waste Less, Save More is a brand new way of working and completely different to what anyone has done before, so it was hard to define a measure of success,” said Paul Crewe, head of sustainability, energy, engineering and environment for Sainsbury’s.

“That said, we really wanted a stretching target to drive results and we’re really proud of the progress that has been made at a household level. I always say that we’re aiming for the stars, so it’ll still be a success if we land on the moon.

“Having spent the last year getting under the skin of household food waste, we have realised that this kind of behavioural change won’t happen overnight, but we have definitely seen positive progress on what will be a longer journey.

“What’s more we’re now looking to take the campaign nationwide. Even if we inspire small changes within our communities, these will add up to have a big impact.”

In the next phase of the programme, the chain will announce an urban trial in Peckham, London, to measure and analyse the challenges of reducing food waste for those living in dense residential – and typically multi-occupation – housing.

The results of the trial are being independently evaluated by Wrap and will be published at the end of May. David Moon, head of food sustainability at Wrap added: “As the recent stall in progress reducing UK household food waste demonstrates, tackling food waste in the home is an extremely complex problem for which there is no single solution.

“Behaviour change takes time, and campaigns like Waste Less, Save More in Swadlincote are helping develop interventions and insights that will help long-term progress.”



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