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Food Waste

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 21 November 2013

We are working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce food waste under the Courtauld commitment, which is targeting a further reduction of 1.1 million tonnes in food and packaging waste. We have also launched an agreement with the hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, pubs and canteens. We are helping households waste less and save money through the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

I am grateful for that answer, but does the Minister not accept that with food prices rising nearly five times as quickly as wages under the Government’s cost of living crisis, the most pressing issue for millions of families across the country this winter will be finding enough food to eat, not throwing it away?

Obviously, we want affordable choices for people across the retail sector, and we have an efficient retail sector in this country. Excellent local food is also produced, and we hope that people will take advantage of what is provided locally to ensure they are well fed over the winter. Having said that, it is important to consider waste because if we do not look at what is being wasted across the supply chain, we will be wasting resources that could be used to help feed people, and that will also have an effect on the environment.

A staggering amount of the food purchased in supermarkets ends up not being consumed. Will my hon. Friend liaise with supermarkets to ensure that any surplus they have goes to food banks, and that they look closely at their packaging so that food for consumption in people’s homes is sold in the requisite amount of packaging?

My hon. Friend raises a number of ways forward. There are many solutions for dealing with surplus food at different points in the chain, including at supermarkets. Further up the food chain there is the option advanced by Company Shop, which I visited recently. It looks at making affordable food available through company shops and, hopefully in the future, to people on low incomes as well.