Coun­try Mouse

What a waste

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

AT last week’s se­lect com­mit­tee into food waste, chef Hugh Fearn­ley­whit­tingstall and cam­paigner Tristram Stu­art shone a spotlight on the cul­ture of food waste in Bri­tain. The pair high­lighted ‘bo­gus’ use-by dates that en­cour­aged peo­ple to throw out per­fectly ed­i­ble food plus the mar­ket­ing deals, such as buy one, get one free, that en­cour­age shop­pers to pur­chase more food than they could pos­si­bly use.

How­ever, their stark­est crit­i­cism was that the shop­per alone was be­ing blamed for al­most all the waste, es­ti­mated at up to 50% of every­thing we buy, when the su­per­mar­ket sup­ply chain was al­most com­pletely over­looked. Su­per­mar­kets im­pose strin­gent cos­metic stan­dards on fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, which means that a slightly bent car­rot, for in­stance, will be re­jected and left to rot. Now, in­cred­i­bly and very sadly, farm­ers grow crops that go straight to anaer­o­bic di­gesters as it’s a bet­ter re­turn for them than sup­ply­ing food for hu­mans and hav­ing so much of it re­jected.

At a time when the na­tion’s food se­cu­rity is of grave con­cern, we have cre­ated a cul­ture of waste on an in­dus­trial scale. MH

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