Retailers have begun a counter attack against food waste campaigners who claim that supermarket promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free are contributing to Britain’s growing mountain of discarded produce.
Describing the link between such promotions and food waste as ‘very small’, the retail industry asserts that such initiatives help keep prices down and takes the pressure off low income families.
Andrew Opie, food director at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The evidence shows that the link between promotions and food waste is actually very small. The main method of promotions is cutting the price rather than Bogof offers, which are rare for fresh products but one of a range of choices offering value to customers.
“A range of measures including improved storage advice and providing customers with advice on portion sizes and using leftovers have all been successful in helping reduce domestic food waste by 670,000 tonnes across the UK between 2005 and 2009.
“While food waste and food poverty are separate issues, where money is simply not available retailers are working with charities, manufacturers and redistribution organisations across the UK to ensure that what usable excess stock there is goes to people who need it."
Only Asda has thus far moved to scrap Bogof offers, banning the practice in 2009 to concentrate on lower prices for core products such as bread, milk and eggs.