Morrisons has announced that it will be donating all of its surplus food to charity, ensuring nothing goes to waste.
The news comes amidst an ongoing drive to cut waste across Britain’s supermarkets. In 2013, all four major supermarkets signed up to the Courtauld Commitments, and each has their own campaign for waste reduction.
Over 180,000 consumers signed a petition calling for UK supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities. It is estimated that over 15m tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year, costing the economy £5bn.
“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,” the petition said.
Morrisons is the very first chain to donate all of its surplus food in this way. According to The Times, a trial in 112 stores across Yorkshire and the North East found that each outlet could fill four shopping carts with unsold food every week to help those in need.
Although Morrisons cannot legally donate food that is past its sell-by-date, it can offer products that have gone past the best-before date.
“The challenge is finding the right community partners to work with. What we have available will vary,” said Stephen Butts, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Morrisons. “Ideally we are looking for groups that can cook the food, meaning they can blend it [with food from other sources].”
When the initiative becomes nationwide, one staff member in each store will be responsible for working with chosen local charities.