Sainsbury’s has abandoned a £10m project to halve food waste in a designated town across Britain after a year-long trial produced miserable results.
The supermarket group gave families in one town, Swadlincote in south Derbyshire, free gadgets to cut food waste – such as devices to measure the correct amount of spaghetti to cook, “smart” fridges to control content and temperatures more accurately, food planners and magnetic shopping lists – and monitored the results.
But the year-long experiment fell far short of its 50% target, with households believed to have cut food waste by only 9% – and telling Sainsbury’s that the issue was not a priority for them.
The UK churns out 15m tonnes of food waste a year – of which 7m comes from households. The estimated retail value of this waste is put at £7.5bn – Wrap believes a typical family wastes £700 of food each year.
“We launched Waste Less, Save More three years ago,” Sainsbury’s said. “We found our customers’ priorities have changed and broadened, which is why reducing food waste now forms one part of what is an even bigger investment to help our customers ‘live well’ in every aspect of their lives.”
Sainsbury’s said it would continue operating shared surplus food projects and continue to donate surplus food to charity through hundreds of partnerships across the UK, while any food unsuitable for human consumption would either be turned into animal feed or sent for anaerobic digestion, which leads to biogas.
A worrying result but the question is why the lack of concern by consumers?
Is food too cheap that many people can ‘afford’ to throw it away?
Are people more finicky?
Are people confused by best before and use by dates?