Skip to content

Well done to Ashley Armstrong here

Co-op to cut 500m tonnes of food waste by teaming up with charity
The Co-operative has signed a deal with FareShare after a successful trial saw 32m tonnes of surplus food passed to charities in 10 weeks


That’s err, 900,000 truck loads or so. In only 10 weeks.

And, err, 500 million tonnes is the total freight handling by all UK ports in a year.

The Co-op has been trialling the food charity project from a depot in Castlewood, Derbyshire, and in just 10 weeks has redistributed 32m tonnes of food from the depot, contributing towards 76,192 meals.

Fucking big meals, eh? Each meal being 420 tonnes?

OK, so, it’s obvious what’s happened. They mean 36 tonnes or so of food in 10 weeks, contributing to 76,000 meals of perhaps 450 grammes each. But, sadly, it gets worse:

The Co-op, M&S, Waitrose, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were responsible for 200,000 tonnes of food wastage in 2013, according to the BRC.
However, the supermarkets were only responsible for 1.3pc of the total 15m tonnes of food thrown away in the UK, as the bulk comes from household waste.

In the same article they tell us that supermarkets throw way 200k tonnes, while telling us that the Co Op alone will save 500m. And then that 15m is the total food waste of the whole country of which the Co Op will save 500m.

She’s not even read her own article, has she?

12 thoughts on “Well done to Ashley Armstrong here”

  1. And compared with your average household supermarkets are incredibly unbelievably efficient. In fact they are efficient in absolute terms. But we want to abuse, must abuse supermarkets. Because TESCO: EVIL.

  2. Tesco really, really try to shift surplus food: if “reduced for clearance” hasn’t cleared byt the time those dropping in on their way home have gone home, they reduce the price again. The other evening I went to my local Tesco at 10pm when I found my son had eaten the food I thought was my supper and found loaves of bread offered at 1p each

  3. Many supermarkets have been donating food to fareshare for several years. Why its taken such an ‘ethical’ company as the co op so long to be involved….

  4. Where I shop the discount bread starts off in the back corner, so you still have to pass the wine and cider sections on the way to the till, so I end up no better off.
    For people genuinely potless it must be like one of those ‘look at what you could have had’ moments in a quiz show.

  5. I have a friend whose a manager for a very well known UK supermarket chain operating here*. I asked her, how much food was thrown away. Her store, turnover €1m per month, it amounts to approx one plastic bin bag per week. Which’ll be mostly items irretrievably damaged.
    Anything else, doesn’t sell to customers marked down, is offered to staff at further discount. Even split packages. Or ends up in my larder 🙂

    For rubbishing the “supermarket waste” meme, just ask to be pointed to the “organic material for disposal” skip on the loading dock. “Packaging for recycling” is the big one, so you’ll be looking in the space next to it.

    *The particular market they’re selling into – ex-pats & holidaymakers abroad – poses a particular problem for supermarket stock control. A UK store will have regular customer buying patterns to analyse, to base their stock control on. Her store’s customer base is many times it’s UK equivalent because, at any one time, there’s far fewer of them, in-country, to shop.

  6. “Earlier this year France introduced legislation banning supermarkets from destroying unsold food.”

    Does the smell make it across the Channel?

    People NOT in the grocery business making decisions on how groceries will be run. What could possibly go wrong?

  7. It used to be the case when I worked in Tesco as a nipper that anything left over was compacted rather than give it to the staff because of the moral hazard that would have entailed.

  8. The argument that there is a significant amount of food wastage especially in developed economies is a furphy. Throughout the entire supply chain from paddock to plate every component part has an incentive to minimise losses of product or waste as it hits the bottom line of every firm involved. I am not aware of any detailed empirical studies that show that there is excessive waste. Retailers at the end point, discount product that is coming up to their use by or best before date to minimise their losses. Similar logic on minimising losses applies to farmers, transport companies and processors of food products. Even at household level, consumers do not want to waste money on buying things they will not use. This is not to dispute that mistakes and misjudgements can be made throughout the entire chain with some losses. Being more efficient and making better profits is a much better incentive for everyone than overarching government regulations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *