Sunday, 6 April 2014

Retailers bogged down in food wast debate over BOGOF promotions

Supermarkets have been told that in order to reduce the amount of food waste produced 
each year they should stop offering customer choices in the form of Buy One Get One Free promotions or BOGOF’s as they are known. These offers are part of the reason why consumers are throwing away a massive amount of food every year according to a report out today. Retailers have been criticised about their lack of responsibility in helping to prevent food waste in the home and this started the hackles rising as I read the report on the BBC news this Sunday lunchtime. A House of Lords European Union Committee said that 15 tonnes of food were wasted every year and more should be given to food banks rather than thrown away.
Retailers blamed for excessive food waste in UK

Back in the 1980’s when I was a young graduate trainee I worked for a large retail outlet that also sold food, and not just any food. At the end of each day whatever was left on the food counters that could not be sold to the public, was sold at half price to the staff. The rest was collected by two individuals, one who worked for the local homeless shelter and the other a farmer who collected the waste vegetables and fruit for his pigs. This system served the company very well for a number of years until bureaucracy got in the way and we were told that for a number of reasons, health and safety being one that we could no longer do this and anything left over had to be bagged up and put out with the rest of the rubbish.

This was a very responsible retailer who kept their food waste to a minimum and by donating fresh and unsold food to a local shelter, years before food banks started up, kept a number of homeless well fed every day of the week. If memory serves, this wasn’t the only retailer who carried out this sort of service as well and I would suggest that to criticise them now is not acceptable. As for contributing to consumers wasting food, then more education and training around making the most of cooking from fresh, freezing and preserving perishables, starting with bringing back proper cookery lessons in schools would be a better starting point. Food banks are a great idea and one that should be supported, but how did we get the point where people cannot afford to feed themselves and their families?
Responsible consumers will lose out if BOGOF's go
The House of Lords Committee are now stating retailers should be sending food waste to charitable organisations i.e. food banks which is what many used to do for years. A lot of households keep to their budget by the BOGOF promotions and ensure they cook or freeze the cheap perishable items they buy so why should they be penalised?
Instead of pointing the finger these MP’s should be pulling it out and coming up with better solutions and practical schemes to redress some of the economic inequalities in the country.
If you rely on food promotions and BOGOF’s to keep to your food budget let us know how it will affect you if these are stopped – we’re listening!

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