UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Food for thought

July 7, 2008

food1.jpgGordon Brown is asking us to stop wasting so much food and suggests that if we threw less away, demand would fall and then so too would food prices.

He says we’re throwing away around eight pounds worth of food a week, adding something like 420 pounds to the average family’s shopping bill.

But agricultural prices have increased some 40 percent over the past year and oil prices have doubled — is it really going to make much difference if we start paying less attention to sell-by dates?

Comments

I suppose next he’ll be saying: “Why don’t they eat cake?”

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive
 

Brown could (legally, if he wanted to of course?) cut the amount of food required in the UK if he removed the millions of unneccessary mouths in the UK wanting food by removing the illegal immigrants, and by ignoring the pathetic Human Rights act in the same way he ignored the democratic Lisbon Treaty. He could also largely empty many of the prisons by arranging to send immigrant convicts back to prisons in their respective countries to be catered for there? It does’nt require someone with an ‘ology’ to work this one out, does it?

Posted by Steve P | Report as abusive
 

I really don’t think lecturing people on the amount of food waste is going to help Brown’s popularity… The initial goodwill that the public harboured for “green issues” has eroded now that the economy is up against the wall.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive
 

Is this man really on the same planet? Nothing further needs to said.

 

instead of bashing the government-again, face the facts. It’s blindingly stupid to throw away half the food you buy and then whinge about not being able to put fuel in your car. I watched a TV prog.recently where a family were throwing away things like a bag of potatoes wich had gone beyond their use by date! A whole pizza, a pack of beef mince, a pack of sausages! Doh!! freezer?! meal planning?! We seem to have lost touch with food! It’s quite worrying really…

Posted by andy | Report as abusive
 

Im forced to waste loads of food as the major chains opperate force us to buy more than we need.

When I want to make mashed potatoes U have to buy a bag of them from the Tescos Extra store, despite its gigantic sized store they only sell them pre-wrapped. Thus the majority of the them go in the bin.

Its the same with so many products. Its the supermarkets and not the consumers who are to blame.

Posted by Jon R | Report as abusive
 

Have to agree with Jon R. A friend of mine works for a large well know supermarket. The quantity of both food and non-food items that are thrown away is gigantic. To prevent pilfering the food is opened and the non-food items that have not sold are broken and dumped.

Posted by John B | Report as abusive
 

How can we waste food when we cannot afford to buy it.
What planet is Brown on.
Winistoni

Posted by Win Travis | Report as abusive
 

I suppose we have to expect simple solutions from a simpleton.

Brown’s statement suggest that he is not only clueless about solving the problem, but is also clueless about the causes of the problem.

And, did I get this wrong, but did he just suggest that Africa should grow more food for us?

Posted by John Ball | Report as abusive
 

The man is an embarrassment. Is this the huge intellect at work?

 

Having gone to one of the major supermarkets yesterday I wanted to buy my potatoes loose as I only need to buy them half a dozen at a time, not in 2.5 or 5kg bags. I live on my own and I cannot use a whole bag, even a small one, before they start sprouting. Amazingly I could only find new potatoes loose, I want some that I can roast – I didn’t bother.

I recently bought some meat at a “Farmers Market” which far outshone that which I can buy in the supermarkets on quality, taste and, due to less waste, value for money.

Where I live the word is that people are beginning to turn their backs on the likes of Sainsbury and Tesco and are using, where they can find them, local shops again as this allows them to buy the quantity they want, not that which is dictated to us. The bye line on this is that the quality is far better so, although the costs appear higher, they are not due to the reduction in the amount thrown away after being cooked.

The Government shouldn’t be lecturing us, it should be addressing the supply chain that dictates that we can only buy items in certain quantities which, in very many cases, are unsuitable for the average household in this country.

I would also love to be able to cut down on the amount of unneccessary packaging that I end up buying – it all adds to the cost of the food we buy. Why do we need to have fruit (other than items like grapes or ‘squashy’ fruit) so heavily packaged – after all Mother Nature has already done that bit for us on a lot of items like apples, oranges and bananas. This could reduce costs as well.

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive
 

Mr Brown ought to know that poorer families rely on such deals. Those that waste food are stupid and beyond belief. Just ask the average Pensioner how they manage.

Posted by bs carter | Report as abusive
 

Next we’ll have a new slogan ‘worried about growth…..plant your own!

 

The marketing people of the supermarkets would not be doing their jobs if people only bought what they need.

We have signed up for this extreme form of capitalism since WWII; those with six figure salaries exploiting proles, for the benefit of those with seven and eight figure salaries.(inflation adjusted)

The Governement’s lack of productivity with the £400bn annually raped from society is probably a close second!

Why not put more indirect tax on everything, claim inflation is important and then reduce direct taxation to make the proles feel good.

Oh yes, remember to make the education system so simple no one knows anything that could possibly challenge this.

Shit, it all been done already, better go to bed now.

Posted by Peter Carney | Report as abusive
 

I think it is time we stopped playing politics and faced the real issues…The man only made a comment based on a survey and if we continue wasting food like we do we only end up digging a bigger hole in our pockets to the profit of the big chains. We are quick to donate a penny after seeing the pictures of starving children just to make us feel better but continue dumping £400 worth of food in the bin and call the PM an alien. Stop moaning and act…………..

Posted by Cornel | Report as abusive
 

A friend of mine works in the retail food industry and tells me that sandwich shops like Pret A’Manger always used to give their leftover food to local hostels at he end of the day. They were stopped from doing this by Health and Safety regulations brought in by the Labour govenment so now all that perfectly good food has to be destroyed. I know that many people in the food industry are appalled by this totally unnecessary waste of perfectly good food so perhaps Mr.Brown should begin by looking again at this legislation.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive
 

I worked for Sainsburys 20 years ago for holiday jobs, and I remember hearing from the delivery drivers stories of whole pallets of food dumped by not just Sainsburys but M&S as well, just because the temperature was a degree off the recommended storage temp. I thought at the time that we waste food, the same is true now. People generally eat much more than they need to, and because of the packaging you have to buy more than you generally need. The end result is that we chuck loads out unnecessarily!

Posted by scott | Report as abusive
 

The food waste problem is a national disgrace when millions starve. Those who waste it must stop and be more thoughtful.

Poorer people who cannot afford to buy enough food should receive vouchers or at least free entry at a meals centre where the low income people can get a square meal for free.

I think this measure will become essential very soon as people struggle with bills and the rampant cost of living.

Come on Gordon – DO SOMETHING!

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •