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Food and Grocery firms respond to consumer calls for less waste

By: William Hobson
23 November 2010

A call to reduce waste among food and grocery retailers has been heeded by the industry, signalling a new commitment to efficiency and waste recovery that should have a significant impact on related logistics work within the UK.

As reported by Multimodal, 29% of shoppers surveyed by IGD consumer research said they felt reducing waste should be one of the food and grocery sectors main priorities for sustainability. In response to this sentiment 33 leading food and grocery companies have reportedly committed to preventing 75,000 tonnes of waste being created by the end of 2012.

All 33 companies are members of IGD and are described by the group as "leading retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and food service operators." Their voluntary pledge aims to totally remove the 75,000 tonnes of waste from their supply chains, either by not producing waste in the first place or ensuring that any products that will be wasted before reaching the market can be redistributed to closer outlets for good use, such a charities or alternative markets.

"Consumers these days hate waste of any kind, therefore as retailers, manufacturers, food service operators and wholesalers we all have a role to play in ensuring the supply chain is as efficient as possible," said Gavin Chappell, Asda's supply chain director. "Our end goal should be to eradicate waste and ensure everything that leaves the factory door gets to its final destination in the same mint condition as when it left."

The new pledge could lead to an increase in driving jobs among waste management and recycling firms; in addition to the 75,000 tonnes of waste to be removed from the supply chain, the 33 firms have pledged to divert a further 150,000 tonnes from disposal such as landfill and sewerage to more productive outputs such as anaerobic digestion or fertiliser.

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