Adjudicator highlights how the multiples generate waste

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Sainsbury's food waste

Sir, The Groceries Code Adjudicator points to a deeply troubling issue when she recognises the systematic role supermarkets play in the waste of food. This an environmental catastrophe: food production is the single greatest negative impact we have on the planet; wasted food is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.

Feedback’s investigations in international supply chains revealed that UK and overseas suppliers to British supermarkets are forced to throw away vast amounts of food because of inaccurate forecasting, overproduction to meet strict cosmetic standards, and cancelled or altered orders. Our new report in January will explore in detail how supermarket practices cause waste on UK farms.

Our investigations in Kenya, South Africa, Peru and Guatemala found that suppliers outside the UK, including indirect suppliers who deal with third party buyers, are more vulnerable to unfair practices as power imbalances can be greater and knowledge of the GCA lower. We argue that the remit of the GCA should be extended to indirect suppliers.

The Adjudicator remarked that suppliers have stated “if the retailers only knew just how much waste their forecasting was generating, they would surely do something about it”. Indeed. Feedback calls on major retailers to put in place transparent monitoring and reporting of waste in their supply chain, from farm level up, so that suppliers, public and statutory bodies may hold UK supermarkets to account.

Carina Millstone, executive director, Feedback

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