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Brief Published: 6 Jun 2014

Waitrose Reduces Edible Waste


As part of a wider drive to reduce edible food waste, leading UK supermarket Waitrose will retail a mixed pack of tomatoes that have either naturally fallen off the vine, or are imperfect in form.

The 1kg pack will comprise baby plum, round and cherry tomatoes – the ratio of varieties depending on seasonality.

The initiative aims to help minimise the staggering amount of food waste in the UK and follows a recent report from the House of Lords' EU Committee, which urged retailers to forge new waste-reduction solutions.

"It is clear that retailers must assume a far greater responsibility for the prevention of food waste in the home," says the report. "Retailers must ensure that incentives and promotions offered to consumers do not transfer waste from the store to the household."

In line with this, many supermarkets have relaxed their requirements around the cosmetic values of fresh produce (explored in Strange Fruit and Evolution of the Supermarket).

"This is important for local farmers with less-than-perfect crops, now commonly caused by mercurial weather conditions," says Mandy Saven, head of Food, Beverage & Hospitality at Stylus. "As a further waste-reduction strategy, retailers must rethink unrealistic expiry dates on certain products."

For more on how food retailers are championing thrifty consumption habits, see Rebranding Budget. For a broader view on food waste as well as the impending food crisis, see Food Vision 2014.

Look out for our forthcoming report Sustainable Dining, which will explore pioneering waste-reduction solutions across the hospitality and food service.