This week however praise for two of them: Morrisons and Asda
Morrisons has promised to donate all its surplus food that is safe to eat to local community groups.
Normally such food is binned, even spoiled with bleach to discourage dumper-diving and usually gets sent to anaerobic digestion plants.
After trialling the idea in Yorkshire and the northeast the supermarket will now appoint community champions to liaise with local groups that will supply volunteers to pick up the food. Each store should be able to provide 4 trolley loads of food.
Food banks are reluctant to take food that looks damaged e.g. broken biscuits but the idea is that anything that is still edible should be turned into food at community cafes, homeless shelters, and drop-in centres.
The food could include items past their “best before” dates because that relates to quality not safety and retailers aren’t legally allowed to donate food past its “use by” date.
In Leeds Morrisons donates to a night cafe run by The Real Junk Food Project whose staff collect food and turn it into meals within two hours and provide it on a “pay as you feel” basis.
And Asda, not my favourite supermarket by any means, has quietly reintroduced misshapen fruit and vegetables – without getting complaints from customers.
They began by adding the malformed (by their perfectionist standards) carrots and sweet potatoes to its packed bags and crates, relaxing its requirements that the products should all conform to a certain size and shape. They used slogans like “beautiful on the inside” and “wonky” vegetables.
Under the new regime up to 15% of the product in class 1 can be misshapen or superficially damaged. In some cases it allows a range of sizes.Wow just as nature intended! Asda admit they underestimated people’s tolerance for ugly veg.
The product should now be cheaper but Asda won’t say by how much (don’t hold your breath). Farmers are also happier as they can use less land to meet their orders and they typically get £350 a tonne for class 1 carrots but only £5 a tonne for those sent for animal feed. And 40% of crops can be wasted or used for animal feed.