Stop the Rot campaigners, armed with megaphones, banners and a skip full of waste, will present almost 200,000 signatures calling for the retailers to stop supply chain waste and demand meetings with bosses to discuss plans to cut waste.
Having turned over the petition to Tesco at its headquarters in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire this morning, the campaigners – some dressed as fruit and veg – visited Sainsbury’s offices in Holborn.
Stop the Rot calls for supermarkets to commit to food waste reduction targets of at least 30% by 2025, both in their stores and in their manufacturing suppliers.
It also calls on supermarkets and the UK government to fund vital measurement of farm food waste by 2018, so targets can be set for that too.
The campaign is supported by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chair of the London Food Board Rosie Boycott and campaign group Friends of the Earth.
Half of all food is wasted
About 7Mt of food is wasted in the UK food supply chain before it even reaches the consumer – amounting to about half of all food wasted in the UK, Stop the Rot claimed.
Lifting the lid on food waste in the supply chain and taking action to tackle it made sense for everyone, Fearnley-Whittingstall claimed.
Food waste facts
- 7Mt of food is wasted annually (UK)
- 1.3bnt is binned each year (globally)
- A third of all food produced is wasted
- 193,300 people have signed the Stop the Rot petition (at time of going to press)
“The cost of UK food waste is currently borne by the environment, our farmers and producers, and by the consumers who pay for food that doesn’t even get to them.”
The Stop the Rot campaign highlighted the “urgent change” needed to address food waste, Boycott said.
“Consumers are currently asked to do the lion’s share of tackling food waste, but many businesses waste more in a day than a consumer does in a year,” she said.
Ambitious commitments and greater transparency
“We need greater transparency from supermarkets about the waste in their supply chains, and ambitious commitments to reduce it. With enough public pressure, we can achieve that.”
About a third of all food produced for human consumption is binned each year, Friends of the Earth said.
This wasted food requires huge quantities of fresh water, labour and land to produce, generating a carbon footprint of over 3 gigatonnes, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth said.
“If it were a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world,” he claimed.
“That’s why tackling food waste in the UK’s supply chains is vital to ensuring we can feed the world without destroying the planet.”