Waste Not Want Not – Supermarket replies on waste food…….

This post relates to 3 men who were caught taking food from a skip behind an Iceland store.


UPDATE: CPS Statement on decision NOT to prosecute – http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2014/01/cps-statement-iceland-foods-case.html

Guardian report 29/01/2014: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/28/three-charged-vagrancy-act-food-skip-iceland

This prompted me to ask the big supermarkets, what there current policies are on waste food….

Original tweet to Tesco, Iceland, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsburys – 28/01/2014:

.@IcelandFoods .@asda .@Tesco .@Morrisons .@SainsburysPR Come on you lot….donate ‘waste’ food.

Replies (via Twitter):

TESCO – 29/01/14:

“Our priority is to minimise any surplus, where possible we’ll send this food to charities such as FareShare, to avoid waste”

MORRISONS – 29/01/14

“We work with charities such as Fareshare, His Church as well as Community Shop to redistribute surplus food”

SAINSBURYS – 29/01/14

“Sainsbury’s works with over 400 food charities to donate surplus food to local charities”


“Hi, we donate food through fare share, you can find more details here http://your.asda.com/aislespy-environment/announcing-our-brilliant-new-project-with-fareshare …  No mention of a waste food policy on their homepage – Could be clearer.

MARKS AND SPENCER – 29/01/2014

“We send zero waste to landfill and work with food charities like FareShare and Company Shop” http://bit.ly/1eprPps 

ICELAND – 29/01/2014

“We work with suppliers to minimise amount of waste we generate, and support Company Shop & other charities around the country…

…Products are designated as waste when they have passed their use-by dates and are considered unfit for human consumption….

….All our food waste is disposed of through an environmentally friendly process called anaerobic digestion….

…..Other than Company Shop, we don’t currently work with any other organisations as our waste volume is so small”

They like Asda have a charitable foundation, see http://www.ifcf.org.uk/. I found this in the Site Map section of there website (It’s not on the main page!) There is no mention on the website of a waste food policy, just how to donate £ to various charities, including instore.

Initial Statement re: CPS Prosecution – about.iceland.co.uk/_assets/files/Prosecution-for-waste-food-theft-29-1-14.pdf …

CO-OP Food – Awaiting reply……..


“Waitrose’s longstanding objective is to reduce waste wherever possible, and to reuse or recycle more of what we produce. The majority of our waste in shops comes from transit packaging, and we have recycled packaging materials such as cardboard and plastic from our shops and distribution centres for more than 20 years.

In 2010-11, the John Lewis Partnership diverted 81% of all operational waste from landfill, up from 52 per cent in 2009-10. However, we recognise that more needs to be done to improve this even further and have set a target to recycle 85% of all Waitrose waste, including unavoidable food waste, by the end of 2015.

We’ve also introduced an initiative to increase the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) for our food waste. Waitrose was the first UK food retailer to use AD plants for our operational food waste to generate electricity, heat and a high-nutrient fertiliser. Our trials began with five Waitrose shops and, by mid 2011, 114 shops were sending food waste to AD plants. I’m pleased to say that we met our target for no food waste to landfill, three months early, towards the end of 2012.

Waitrose has also started an initiative allowing all of our branches to donate surplus food to local causes. We’ve set a target that no food fit for consumption is sent to AD by the end of 2015 as we build the network of organisations around our stores.

Waitrose also has a legal obligation to recycle 55-80% of its product packaging (the % variations are based on type of material), under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations introduced in 1997. We fully support this legislation and have been compliant since its introduction.

Waitrose spends over £1 million a year as part of its obligation and this money is invested (via a Retail Compliance Scheme) in national recycling facilities (eg kerbside collections, recycling centres at civic amenity sites, etc). These allow consumers to recycle their packaging locally. As a direct result of this legislation and the financial contributions made by obligated companies, packaging recovery rates in the UK have risen from 6% in 1997 to over 60% today.

Waitrose also actively encourages its customers to reuse and recycle more. Where space permits, we offer and encourage local authorities to provide and service centralised recycling points for packaging materials in our car parks – for materials such as clothing, glass and paper. We also have carrier bag and battery recycling facilities in all our Waitrose shops.

I hope this assures you that waste and packaging is an issue that Waitrose takes very seriously. More information on how we are tackling this challenge can be found on the John Lewis Partnership website – http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk

Thank you again for getting in touch. I hope you found this information helpful……..”

Note: their website details the work they do for charity, including Crisis, but no mention of food waste policy, I had to email them to get this reply. In my opinion, they should copy the text they sent me into their website.

It occurs to me that the above replies do not take into account the food they cannot pass to charity. Food that is technically unfit for human consumption. But this is debateable. I think we all know, that some of the food skipped out of the back door, is edible, but where do you draw the line? Regulations probably state that very short life food, must be destroyed. It still concerns me that there must be an awful lot of good food being wasted simply because of red tape.

I am very grateful for those that replied, and who did so promptly. This is as much in their interest, as the consumer. Clear waste policy should be on the homepage in my opinion.




Sainsburys :


“….more on our zero food waste to landfill policy here….”



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