Skip to main content

Food: Waste

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 57097, tabled on 12 December 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations her Department has received on introducing a ban on supermarkets destroying or disposing of unsold food; and if she will make a statement.

Answered on

19 December 2016

In the last 18 months Defra has received a significant amount of correspondence on issues related to unsold food in supermarkets.

Less than 3% of all UK post-farm gate food wasted in the supply chain is from supermarkets, so we need the whole chain to work together.

The Government has instigated a variety of actions to increase surplus food redistribution including development of a partnership model to help facilitate closer working between potential donors and recipients of food surpluses. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has also established a Redistribution Working Group under Courtauld 2025 to share best practice and help identify and overcome barriers to redistributing food.

All major UK supermarkets now have relationships with redistribution organisations and WRAP estimates that 47,000 tonnes of surplus food – the equivalent to 90 million meals - was redistributed by the manufacturing and retail sector in 2015.