Morrisons has announced it is to donate all unsold food to local community groups, amid public outrage over the amount of unsold food thrown away by British supermarkets.
According to reports in the Times, the company ran a trial in 112 stores across the northeast and found that each one could supply up to four trolley loads of food a week to local groups. The initiative aims to appoint a member of staff in each of its 500 stores to liaise with volunteers and arrange pick-ups.
In May this year an online petition urging the government to force supermarkets to distribute unsold food among the needy was signed by over 100,000 people. It was posted on the 38 Degrees campaign website by Lizzie Swarf who urged: “Rather than wasting millions of pounds worth of food that is still usable, make supermarkets donate their leftover products that are still safe to eat, to food banks.”
We're rolling our food waste initiative out nationally so that any edible unsold food is donated to charities! pic.twitter.com/EwZp4FSJcg— Morrisons (@Morrisons) October 31, 2015
Stephen Butts, head of corporate responsibility for Morrisons, said to the Times: “The challenge is finding the right community partners to work with. What we have available will vary. Ideally we are looking for groups that can cook the food, meaning they can blend it [with food from other sources].”
But the British still have a long way to go to catch up to their French counterparts. The French national assembly voted to pass legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying old food, forcing companies to donate their surplus to charities.