Food Wastage

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 25th March 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Pelling Andrew Pelling Independent, Croydon Central 10:30 am, 25th March 2010

What steps are being taken to reduce the level of food wastage.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government are working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme-WRAP-to cut food waste through the "Love Food Hate Waste" campaign and the Courtauld commitment, and we are working with the Food Standards Agency to improve the understanding and use of guidance on food date labelling and storage.

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Photo of Andrew Pelling Andrew Pelling Independent, Croydon Central

The pressure group Pig Business has highlighted that 4.1 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. In addition to the good work that the Government are doing, as listed by the Secretary of State, what work can be done with supermarkets to encourage a reduction in food waste?

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

A number of supermarkets are working very hard towards reducing that and towards sending no food waste to landfill. Indeed, I visited one of the nation's anaerobic digesters at the start of the week, and there were two great big piles of waste-one had come from supermarkets and stores and the other had come from households, principally in west London. That plant is generating about 2 MW of renewable energy, thereby turning a problem into an opportunity for the nation. That is why we need more of that, and the measures to which the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend Dan Norris, has just referred will encourage a further increase in the number of anaerobic digester plants.

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Photo of Ann Cryer Ann Cryer Labour, Keighley

When my right hon. Friend next talks to food producers and packers, will he ask them to bear it in mind that an increasing number of us are living alone? It would be much easier to stop throwing food away if, for example, packets of bacon were reduced from eight rashers to just four rashers.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I agree completely with my hon. Friend. Another step that some supermarkets have taken is to move from "buy one get one free" offers to "buy one now, get one free later". That simple change gives the same benefit to the consumer and helps to reduce food waste, so I warmly encourage it.

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Photo of Michael Jack Michael Jack Conservative, Fylde

As this will be my last Question Time, may I thank the Secretary of State and his team of Ministers for the help that they have given to the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs? In that context, in our report on-

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