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Supermarkets & Waste Food: What’s Being Done?

Food waste has long been a problem and it’s talked about widely. It’s since become more prominent in society as we start to feel the effects of global warming. This results in far hotter summers and extremely cold winters. June 2023 was dubbed the hottest June on record, and that’s quickly going to become the new normal, according to the BBC

Where waste food isn’t the sole reason for this, it’s something that we can work together to combat. This will, eventually, help elevate the environmental consequences. This is especially the case if much of the food waste and surplus food ends up in landfill. The Eco Experts claim that, across the globe, we produce enough food to end world hunger. But 40% of that food ends up being wasted. 

This food waste will decompose and emit gases into the atmosphere. This, in turn, only adds to climate change. Where we can easily do our bit for the cause at home, it begs the question as to what large companies are doing to battle the issue.


What are supermarkets doing with their waste food?

Supermarket giant, Tesco, redistributes their waste food. They believe that “good food should never go to waste”. According to Tesco, they donate surplus food to charities and communities throughout the country through their Community Food Connection scheme. The same source states that, since 2016, they have donated over 145 million meals. In addition, they’ve also supported more than 3,900 charities since the initiative began.

Sainsbury’s have also adopted a similar scheme, building more than 2,100 ‘Food Donation Partnerships’ with local charities across the UK. In addition to donating their own surplus food, they have also added 1,082 ‘front of store’ food donation points since 2017. This allows shoppers to donate some extra groceries, if they’re able to. Sainsbury’s has donated £45.8 million worth of food to charities throughout 2016 and 2017 alone.

Asda has an initiative to deal with their waste food as well. The majority of surplus food goes to charity or it undergoes commercial redistribution. The rest of the surplus food they have goes to animal feed in order to rear their livestock. Anything that is left will be given away to customers, according to the same source. 

With this in mind, it’s evident that supermarkets are doing more now than ever before to combat food waste. Whether they be giving food away to those who will use it or recycle it in an eco-friendly manner, such as using it to feed their animals, it’s a step in the right direction.


How do supermarkets get their surplus food to those who need it?

Supermarkets will, inevitably, have surplus food. There are many different ways of disposing of it responsibly. Part of that process is to donate it. Whether it goes to a food bank or on apps such as ‘Too Good to Go’, surplus food will never be wasted through these initiatives. ‘Too Good to Go’ allows businesses to advertise waste or surplus food online. 

Users of the app will be able to make their way down to the shop and collect the food either for free or for a small cost. Most supermarkets opt to give their surplus food to food banks in order to get it to those who need it. Food banks will give food away for free via non-profit organisations. This means that they’re heavily-reliant on donations from people who have surplus food.


Which supermarkets are dealing with waste food responsibly?

Not every supermarket is following in the footsteps of others. However, more supermarkets than ever before are doing their bit. Not only does this help with regards to the environment and lowering their carbon footprint, but it can also help those who are in need. Some of the supermarkets and organisations who are doing what they can to combat food waste includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Asda
  • Boots
  • Caffé Nero
  • Co-op
  • Costa Coffee
  • Lidl
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons
  • Nestlé
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Selfridges
  • Starbucks
  • Tesco
  • Waitrose
  • Fortnum and Mason


How can I dispose of my waste or surplus food?

There are many things that you can do to dispose of waste food or food that is still good to eat but that you have too much of. Firstly, you can compost a wide range of different foods in your own back garden. Alternatively, ask a licensed waste management company, such as us here at Willshee’s, to come and collect your waste food for you. This is a beneficial service if your company deals with food and catering in general. 

We have a dedicated waste food management service that you can take advantage of. We will collect your waste food and turn it into biogas by way of composting the waste food. The gases emitted from this process are then used to power our generators. The electricity that’s generated through this process is then provided as green energy to the National Grid. Not only does this rescue our carbon footprint, but it also reduces that of our customers.

We don’t recommend wasting food that is still good to eat. So instead, take food that is still edible to a food bank for other people to make use of. If you own a coffee shop, for example, then you can advertise your leftover food online through apps such as ‘Too Good to Go’. This allows users to find your business and collect the surplus food either for free or for a fraction of the full price. Many companies and organisations use this, including Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Pret, Greene King pub chains and Yo Sushi, to name a few.



Willshee’s is a fully-licensed waste management company who is dedicated to lowering our carbon footprint, as well as that of our customers’. We endeavour to recycle 100% of the waste we collect. So you’ll have absolute peace of mind that your waste will be dealt with responsibly no matter what it is. For more information about our food waste management service, or to find out more about our other waste management services, including skip hire,  then get in touch with a member of our dedicated professionals today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.


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