Sainsbury’s Abandons £10 Million Food Waste Project

The supermarket's £10 million scheme resulted in only a 9 percent drop in food waste—way off its 50 percent target.
May 8, 2018, 1:13pm
Original image via Flickr user diamond geezer.

Whether it’s eating a dodge avocado four days past its sell-by-date or passive-aggressively moving your housemate's banana peel to the compost bin (twice! In a day!), reducing food waste can sometimes feel like a drag.

Well, spare a thought for supermarket giant Sainsbury's, who have been forced to drop their £10 million food waste scheme, after the year-long trial run resulted in only a 9 percent drop in food waste—way off its 50 percent target.


According to the Guardian, the supermarket gave residents of Derbyshire town, Swadlincote, special tools and appliances to help them waste less food. These included pasta measurers, fridges with “smart” temperature monitors, and magnetic shopping lists.

Unfortunately, Sainsbury’s £1 million initial investment failed to reduce food waste enough to hit the 50 percent target.

The Waste Less, Save More scheme was launched as a five-year project to uncover more about consumers’ waste habits. The supermarket had hoped to change attitudes after a survey it conducted in 2016 found that barely anyone in the UK gave a shit about food waste.

Sainsbury’s explained that this lack of interest may have contributed to the failure of the scheme. “We found our customers’ priorities have changed and broadened,” a spokesperson from the company told MUNCHIES, “which is why reducing food waste now forms one part of an even bigger ambition to help our customers ‘live well’ in every aspect of their lives.”

However, Carina Millstone, executive director of food waste charity Feedback, explained to MUNCHIES that the real issue for Sainsbury's is the marketing of food. She said: “Although we were disappointed to hear that Sainsbury’s has scrapped its work on food waste, it has not come as a surprise to Feedback that food waste in the home is not something that can be solved through a techno-fix.”

“One grocery bag in every five is wasted because of supermarkets’ aggressive marketing tactics,” she continued. “If Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets want to get real about reducing their customer’s food waste, they need to find ways to help them buy the right amount in the first place—and this must mean buying less.”

Well, at least Sainsbury's have got that money-making ASDA merger to look forward to.