Multi-buy deals have come under fire again after new data laid bare the extent of the UK’s food waste mountain.

Food worth £13.7bn was binned in England last year – equivalent to each household throwing away £520 of food.

The Local Government Association, which calculated the estimate, said supermarket multi-buy deals were to blame for the scale of the problem.

“Way too much food is being brought into homes [and] retailers need to take a large slice of responsibility,” said the body’s environment chief, Clyde Loakes. He called for supermarkets to offer discounts on individual items and scrap bogof deals designed to “transfer waste out of retail operations and into the family home”.

The British Retail Consortium criticised the report and said local councils should improve rubbish collection services to prevent food waste going to landfill.

“There’s a simple solution to the problem of food waste going to landfill – local councils need to collect it separately so it can be turned into compost or helped to biodegrade.” said BRC head of environment Bob Gordon.

“With people’s disposable income shrinking, supermarket special offers are more valued than ever. Forty per cent of groceries going through the tills are currently on promotion or special offer.

“Customers are smart and they know how to make the most of the deals that work for them. There’s no evidence the food ending up in landfill is a result of promotions.”

Read more
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Binned food uses 6% of UK’s water (22 March 2011)
Just 9% of food waste goes to landfill (4 November 2010)