14 November 2017: Major campaign win – supermarkets to publish food waste figures

At Feedback, we have consistently campaigned for supermarkets to publish their food waste data. Following on from our work Tesco became the first supermarket in the world to release a third-party audited report of its food waste throughout the supply chain. In 2016 Sainsbury’s agreed to release data on its in-store waste. But the other supermarkets continued to resist reporting by individual retailer, preferring to report their aggregate food waste figures through industry bodies.

Now that’s changed.

Feedback welcomes reports that UK supermarkets have successfully agreed to report on food waste by company, using a common methodology. This is a massive step forward in the fight against food waste. The breakthrough was reported by The Grocer, who said that talks facilitated by the IGD led to agreement on a standardised method for reporting, with details still to be finalised on whether companies will publish their own data, or leave this to an industry body such as the IGD or WRAP.

This is a major step forwards, an important validation of our long-term position on food waste transparency, and an indication of the growing global ambition to slow the avalanche of food wasted every year. The fact that one third of food is wasted around the world is a climate calamity as well as a moral disgrace: it is high time the food industry took responsibility for their part in this.

Reporting on food going to waste across their operations is an important first step, allowing retailers to develop comprehensive and credible plans to identify waste hotspots and prevent it occurring in the first place. The next step will be to extend that transparency across their supply chains – food continues to go to waste on farms because of retailer policies and this too must be addressed to achieve a less wasteful food chain.

Now we need to keep the pressure up to make supermarkets follow through and work towards reducing food waste across their supply chains.