OK, so this could read like a mini rant:
There has been a lot in the news recently about (name of supermarket) and how much food they waste/throw away. Is it me, or is this not a sudden or new thing? Having worked in retail for 6 years (so far, you never know, I might end up back there) I felt super guilty when I had to throw food products away and was all too aware of my personal actions when dealing with food on counters. Knowing that a naff slice/cut could result in my having to dispose of some perfectly OK produce. I have also encountered some instances where thousands of units across several lines have been thrown away on a whim. When staff have questioned whether they could THEORETICALLY take the perfectly edible items home (after them being disposed of correctly) they were told that if they did take the items and were caught it would be called theft.
With all this in mind, I would raise the question: Why do more supermarkets not give spoiled food to the poor and homeless?
I understand this could perhaps perpetuate a culture of reliance and complacency in some way but with more people than ever in the UK relying on food banks, why throw the food away? What happened to the BIG SOCIETY? I only know of one company that seems to give food that will get thrown away, to homeless people and I don’t even know if they still do it. (OK, I haven’t done too much research there are probably more but this is a blog, not an essay)
One point that was made on the news is that there are lots of deals or “bumper packs” of fruit and veg and thus the supermarket makes you take more home than you need, this is also sneaky as it means that the wasting is done by the consumer and not the supermarket.
I think there are two things that should be considered:
- People don’t know how to shop effectively (we’re all busy, lots of people shop in a rush)
- The use by dates on a lot of food are within 2 or 3 days of you purchasing the product.
I think TV shows that are designed to make you shop smarter or save money have their heart in the right place but people don’t always follow through with the good habits. I think perhaps this highlights the importance of teaching school children common sense things such as budgeting for either themselves or a house hold. Giving them the means to put the classroom to practical use.
On a side note also, following this news I was in a local (name of supermarket) where I saw what appeared to be two senior managers (perhaps store, possibly area) who were pointing out how inexperienced merchandisers had stacked shelves incorrectly (i.e. they had placed small, impulse items on bottom shelves with larger ones above). I think this could show the strain that retailers are put under and how their resources have to be stretched to their maximum. OK so perhaps having two senior managers in one small store doesn’t sound stretched but I think with this recent news and with what I also witness in other stores as well, perhaps there needs to be a shake down or shuffle of the management??
If anyone notices any blatant examples of supermarkets or food outlets in the UK that DO give to the poor and needy that I have missed, do tell me because I would be interested to know.