Reducing Food Waste – A French Approach

Earlier this month the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations published a study investigating food waste and its impact upon natural resources. One of the shocking statistics from the report was that around one-third of all food produced is wasted. This is something some of us see on a daily basis, whether having to throw away something in our own home – or, as is often the case, large volumes of food being disposed by Supermarkets as they are no longer able to sell it.

More recently the BBC reported on a Sainsbury’s store that is now powered by food waste it produces. This is part of its initiative to achieve zero food waste.

The charity FareShare is also taking steps to reduce waste by redistributing food to organisations that is still fit for human consumption and handles an estimated 1.5% of the surplus food in the UK.

Whilst both of these are clearly steps in the right direction, it still seems such a travesty that there is so much excess food available, particularly when there are increasing numbers of people living in ‘food poverty’.

Recently the French Supermarket ‘Intermarché’ launched its ‘Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables’ initiative. Here ‘aesthetically challenged’ products which wouldn’t normally even be stocked in stores are sold at a reduced price. It seems to be a successful venture, and another approach to reducing waste. A clever marketing campaign has been produced, and one wonders whether there would be scope within the UK for a similar approach by major retailers? As someone who grew up eating home grown fruit and vegetables, and still do, the shape of a carrot or apple doesn’t bother me – but suspect that the mass market probably does.