Counting the Cost of Food Waste: EU Food Waste Prevention - European Union Committee Contents

CHAPTER 3: Food Waste from Farm to Fork

58.  As highlighted in the previous chapter, there is an urgent need for progress to tackle the issue of food waste, turning rhetoric into action. During the inquiry, we explored the supply chain and its individual components to understand where action needs to be taken to tackle such waste most effectively. The significance of considering the supply chain as a whole is that it has the potential to capture the interactions that occur between different stages (see Figure 3). In this chapter, we first consider food waste by consumers in the home, the highest-profile component of the supply chain, before moving on to examine other stages of the supply chain and cooperation between them.


Interactions throughout the supply chain

The diagram above shows the nature of the food and drink supply chain from the original producer through to manufacturers, processors, retailers, food service and hospitality (pubs, restaurants, hotels and caterers) and, finally, the consumer. It demonstrates that the supply chain involves a multitude of different relationships, depending on the product and the ultimate consumer. The diagram has intentionally simplified the supply chain. Within that structure, it is the case that a manufactured product, such as a ready meal, will contain a wide variety of ingredients, each from a different source.

The role of the consumer in the home

59.  A common theme throughout the inquiry was a focus on the role of the consumer, at the end of the supply chain, in cutting food waste.[83] The emphasis on consumer actions is also apparent in the European Commission's own study of food waste across Europe.[84]

60.  In the Netherlands, this work is being led by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation (NNCF), which provides information and encourages consumers to take the right decisions.[85] The NNCF aims to achieve this by raising awareness amongst consumers, interacting with them and providing consumers with practical tools, such as a 'Smart Cooking' application for mobile phones. This provides purchasing, cooking and storage advice in addition to healthy customised recipes and daily suggestions.[86]

61.  As part of its work to raise awareness, the NNCF takes part in a variety of campaigns, such as 'Damn Food Waste' in Amsterdam in June 2013, where lunch was made for 5,000 people using food that would have otherwise been wasted.[87] At the event, the NNCF also established a life-sized interactive "big fridge", which the public could walk into and discuss food waste, including the problems they faced and tips on what could be done.[88] In 2009 it also launched radio and television campaigns to highlight economic incentives for consumers, suggesting that individuals could save €50 a year, or €150 a year for a family.[89] Other examples included educating consumers on improved fridge storage, a greater use of shopping lists and meal planning.[90]

62.  In terms of interaction with consumers, we learnt of the NNCF's newest campaign, 'Why 50 kilos?', which uses social media to create awareness about the 50 kilograms of avoidable 'good' food wasted by each person every year. The NNCF also has a journalist who posts media blogs twice a week regarding their experience with food waste, which is used to inspire other people when dealing with food waste, including opportunities on what to do with it.[91]

63.  In the UK, meanwhile, work focusing on the role of the consumer is being led by WRAP. Several witnesses made reference to WRAP's 'Love Food Hate Waste' (LFHW) campaign, including how funding had been used locally (see Box 3).[92] The UK Government provided a helpful summary of the campaign's impact:

    "WRAP's partly Government-funded Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign helps consumers to make informed choices on reducing food waste. LFHW has established a respected, credible and effective brand, materials and messages, working in partnership with a broad range of organisations (e.g. local councils, retailers and the food supply chain). Through LFHW, consumers have been helped to save money and waste less food by a combination of innovations such as resealable salad bags, meal planning, leftovers recipe ideas, and smaller size loaves of bread."[93]


North London 'Love Food Hate Waste' project

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) explained how it had used LFHW funding to deliver a 10-month food waste reduction campaign in the local area. This included, among other activities, community kitchen workshops, information stalls in libraries and live cookery demonstrations. Promotional items issued included recipe cards, tea towels and spaghetti measures. It was estimated that, by the end of the campaign, 3,787 people had been advised directly and 61,000 people had been exposed to the campaign.[94]

64.  The extent to which consumers are realistically able to take further action within the constraints of current lifestyles was, however, questioned by some witnesses. WRAP, for example, acknowledged that lifestyles today are more chaotic, stating that the debate "has to be about recognising the way people lead their lives and helping them to do as much as they can within the context in which they live". When pressed, WRAP agreed that one must be realistic when considering the role of the consumer, and noted that a significant degree of "common sense" applied to the debate.[95] Copa-Cogeca stated that food waste in industrialised societies is more closely linked to "changes in family structure or lifestyle".[96] The NLWA argued that contributing factors to food waste include lack of time and lifestyle, such as buying ingredients but eating out instead.[97]

65.  Innovation may, over time, help consumers to reduce food waste further. We heard how Wageningen University in the Netherlands is currently working with the Pasteur project on developing an innovative microchip that would monitor the quality of perishable food from farm to fridge. A microchip is placed on a batch of fruits, vegetables or meat, with the first prototypes containing sensors to measure various environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, acidity, oxygen content and ethylene content. This information, combined with information about transport and storage, provides details about the state the fresh produce is in, and the likely quality in the future. Although it is not possible to mass produce this microchip at present, it is expected that the technology will become economically viable within a few years.[98] Scientists from Peking University in Beijing have reportedly developed a similar technology, with food label 'tags' that can tell whether food is "going off in real time". These tags use metallic nanorods that degrade slowly in line with the environment in which food is stored, changing colour from green to red as the product deteriorates.[99]

66.  We agree that consumers have an important role to play in reducing food waste. While increasingly unpredictable lifestyles create challenges for food waste prevention and reduction in the home, these are not insurmountable. Rather, efforts to help consumers to tackle food waste must be made within the context of those challenges. The awareness-raising work carried out in a number of Member States has rightly put emphasis on enabling consumers to find solutions to food waste in the home. Tools that can be used include simple and practical ideas for recipes, but extend also to innovations such as the Dutch 'Smart Cooking' mobile phone application and the innovative microchip and food label 'tags' that can monitor the actual state of food.

Retailers and consumers

67.  Consumers are heavily influenced by other parts of the supply chain, particularly the retail sector.[100] According to WRAP, retailers have "a huge role to play".[101] We heard that it can be in the economic interest of retailers to assist consumers in this way as although consumers may purchase less food, they may subsequently upgrade their purchases to higher value products.[102]

68.  Retailer actions can pass food waste on to the consumer through incentives and promotions such as 'buy one, get one free' (BOGOF), which encourage consumers to purchase in large volumes.[103] As explained by Professor Benton, consumers have a psychological, "reflexive" response, in that although they may not have the storage space or need for the extra food, they will buy it because they feel they are getting a bargain.[104] In Tesco, for example, it was discovered that two-for-ones on bagged salad were creating a high level of food waste, and so the supermarket decided to discontinue such offers. WRAP suggested that the amount of food waste caused by promotions such as BOGOF depended on the product purchased.[105] In addition to incentives and promotions, some highlighted the need to sell food in a variety of packaging sizes in order to ensure that consumers are not forced to purchase a higher volume of food than they need.[106]

69.  It is clear that retailers must assume a far greater responsibility for the prevention of food waste in the home. Retailers must ensure that incentives and promotions offered to consumers do not transfer waste from the store to the household.

70.  It was suggested that there is a need for clarification, and possible revision, of date labelling requirements, and a need for explanation of what is meant by such dates.[107] Research by the NNCF found that only 37% of consumers knew the differences between 'best before' and 'use by' dates on food packaging (see Box 4), with only 58% checking the product after the expiry date before throwing it away.[108] WRAP considered that progress, at least in the UK, had been made in improving public understanding. Nevertheless, there was still more work to do and "retailers have a huge part to play in that".[109]


'Best before', 'use by' and 'sell by' dates

The sale of food beyond its 'best before' date is not illegal, although the quality of the product would not be expected to be the same as prior to expiry of the 'best before' date.

A 'use by' date should be applied to highly perishable products that are likely to constitute an immediate danger to human health after a short period of time. The food is deemed unsafe after the 'use by' date and it is illegal to distribute it or offer it for sale.[110]

The use of 'sell-by' dates has reduced significantly. Such dates are used for commercial stock control reasons, rather than for consumer guidance.[111]

71.  The UK Government confirmed that, working with industry, they are making a lot of progress in terms of how to communicate issues relating to date labelling. They plan to publish more advanced guidance but could not give a timetable.[112]

72.  We conclude that date labelling on foods remains confusing to consumers. Retailers have a key role to play in ensuring that consumers understand dates and are not misled. We therefore recommend urgent publication of the advanced guidance to which the UK Government referred.

73.  Another area in which retailers could assist consumers was that of providing advice on the correct storage of food.[113] Indeed, information on "any special storage conditions" is a requirement of EU legislation.[114] Marks and Spencer acknowledged that additional storage information could be provided but that available space on packaging was sometimes an issue.[115] The BRC confirmed that work was underway within the retail sector to standardise storage information, particularly around freezing.[116]

74.  The provision of information on storage was closely related to developing greater understanding of the importance of packaging in protecting food. It was explained to us that packaging can have a positive role in preventing food waste by extending the shelf life of food and protecting the product from damage.[117] We heard, on the other hand, that a high proportion of consumers are unaware of the importance of food packaging to the preservation of food.[118] Finally, we were told that retailers could help consumers by ensuring that, where appropriate, food is packaged so that it could be resealed.[119]

75.  We conclude that few consumers are aware that packaging can be crucial for the durability of food. Retailers have a responsibility to communicate the benefits of packaging and information about how food should be stored to avoid premature deterioration and unnecessary food waste.

Retailers and producers

76.  The inquiry heard that retail decisions can lead to wastage at producer level, due to a range of interlinked factors including: contractual requirements; product standards; and poor demand forecasting.

77.  In terms of contractual arrangements, witnesses noted the high level of control the retail sector has over the food sector generally and over producers in particular,[120] and the potential for contracts to create waste.[121] As insurance against poor weather conditions, producers may overplant.[122] The NGO, Feeding the 5,000, noted that farmers often produce food exclusively for a specific supermarket, and so if an order is cancelled at the last minute, it is the farmer who bears the cost of the food waste.[123] Further to this, witnesses argued that long-term contracts between retailers and producers should be encouraged, as they establish a more frequent or better understood ordering pattern. According to Sodexo, this encourages confidence amongst producers, and can contribute to preventing both overproduction and over-ordering.[124] In the UK, the new Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is designed to monitor the functioning of the groceries market, including contractual arrangements (see paragraphs 98-102).

78.  In identifying markets for their products, producers must work within the restrictions of legislative and cosmetic standards. EU marketing standards are explored in more detail in Chapter 4. Retailers and manufacturers may impose additional cosmetic standards relating to weight, size and appearance. These can result in significant food waste pre-farm gate if crops are rejected because of their appearance or shape.[125] Witnesses representing producers highlighted that it was often difficult to find markets for produce that did not meet retailers' standards and that much depended on prevailing market conditions. Examples were, however, given by witnesses where food manufacturing provided alternative markets for some products, such as their use in soups.[126] Certain crop types were more susceptible to remaining unharvested, depending on how stringent the market specifications were. One example provided by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) was that retailers demanded that Gala apples had to have a 50% red colour, as a result of which 20% of the crop was often wasted. The rejected crop could not even go into the juice market because the prices were so low.[127]

79.  A number of witnesses argued that cosmetic standards are unnecessary.[128] Feeding the 5,000, for example, stated that cosmetic standards for fruit and vegetables in the retail sector are "indefensible", highlighting that between 20-40% of these crops in UK farms are "never harvested" as they do not comply with the strict retail specifications.[129] The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF UK) emphasised that food should not be rejected by retailers "for cosmetic reasons" as the burden is put on the farmer who must then find a new market for the food. It argued that retailers need to take responsibility "to utilise that food if it is being grown".[130]

80.  Whilst the product standards applied by retailers to fresh fruit and vegetables are in a few cases a result of mandatory EU standards (see Chapter 4, paragraph 113), the dominant reason given by retailers was because of consumer preference.[131] Tesco argued that customers "naturally select" and "always pick the cream of the crop first", meaning that the rest will be left to waste. It was claimed that consumers will always go for the food that cosmetically looks better, and that adding more produce which does not meet these standards will actually "drive waste".[132] As Professor Godfray noted in one example, "Consumers themselves are still reluctant to buy misshapen cucumbers."[133]

81.  That argument was, however, queried by others, citing the positive public response to the 'value ranges' of food recently introduced in supermarkets, which provide an outlet for less attractive food.[134] One witness commented that "it is clear that if you put a straight carrot next to a wonky one, the consumer used to seeing perfect produce will not go for the wonky one, but there are a lot of creative ways that retailers can market this produce", such as the use of value ranges.[135] Sustain argued that consumer perceptions and behaviour towards cosmetic standards have been shaped and, by implication, "can be reshaped".[136] This was corroborated by a recent public opinion poll, which found that more than 80% of British shoppers would be willing to buy fruit and vegetables which are not perfect in shape or colour.[137] Cultural differences across Member States may apply in terms of attitude towards fruit and vegetables. Tesco, for example, sells a higher amount of "supplier seconds" in its central European stores.[138]

82.  A method for reducing food waste between the producer and retailer was that of whole-crop purchases. The retailer would purchase the entire crop, but use it for a variety of purposes, depending on the quality of the crop. As one example, the BRC explained how carrots might be used. A retailer will buy virtually the whole crop of carrots and put the highest graded carrots in bags that would be purchased for preparation at home. At the next level down, carrots might be chopped into batons and used as prepared vegetables. Finally, the leftovers could be used for soups, purées or ready meals.[139] The UK Government further supported this approach and pointed to a case study which suggested that adopting this method for potatoes improved crop use by over 20%.[140]

83.  A variant on whole-crop purchasing was that of guaranteeing fixed percentages for orders. Using grapes as an example, Tesco has been running a trial whereby it guarantees to buy a fixed percentage of an order, regardless of changes in demand. Whereas previously a retailer might have cancelled 100% of an order, it might now commit to taking at least 70%. This reduces food waste in two ways. First, the producer is not left with a large amount of product for which they have to find a secondary market. Second, by guaranteeing the order Tesco can take it straight from the farm to its own distribution centres more quickly, thus bypassing the supplier's storage facilities and extending the product's shelf life at the retail and consumer stages.[141]

84.  In tackling waste at the producer level, retailers could improve forecasting, be this for the weather or for consumer demand. With better forecasting, it was argued, retailers could go back to the producer in advance so that they could flex their supply.[142]

85.  It is clear that actions by retailers, such as the cancellation of orders of food that has already been grown, leads to food waste earlier in the food supply chain. We recommend a renewed effort by businesses to promote cooperation and shared financial responsibility. This effort should, amongst others, include: careful consideration of contractual requirements in the sector, including much wider use of long-term contracts and ones where the relationship between different ends of the supply chain does not encourage overproduction; the encouragement of whole-crop purchasing; and improvements to forecasting.

The hospitality and food service sector

86.  Food is consumed both at home and outside, in restaurants, bars and canteens. In the UK, WRAP's Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (see Appendix 5) aims to cut food and associated packaging waste in that sector by 5%, which is the equivalent of approximately 100 million meals, and to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) (see Chapter 5, Box 8) or composted to 70%.[143] The size of businesses in the food service and hospitality sector presents distinct challenges to those faced by the retail sector. While the sector includes large multinational restaurant and catering companies, it is composed largely of small businesses, such as independent restaurants and pubs.[144]

87.  In this sector, food is wasted through a combination of kitchen wastage and plate waste by consumers. Research undertaken by WRAP suggests that consumers who waste food away from home don't feel a sense of ownership or responsibility about the food they leave and the amount of food they are given is considered to be out of their control.[145] Portion size is, therefore, a significant challenge for the industry. Neil Forbes, an independent restaurant owner, explained that his restaurant monitors amounts of food returned to the kitchen and responds by altering portion size.[146] Restaurants should also, it was argued, encourage consumers to take surplus food home with them in a "doggy bag" for later consumption, a practice which is more culturally acceptable in the US.[147]

88.  In 2011, Unilever—in association with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)[148]—launched the 'United Against Waste toolkit', which was designed to assist the food service and hospitality industry reduce food waste. The toolkit aims to help businesses by providing information about food preparation and plate presentation, including portion size, and monitoring what consumers leave on their plate.[149] Education and training were seen as key to achieving change in the sector.[150] The restaurant Nando's, for example, highlighted their attempts to incorporate food waste management training into the inductions of new staff.[151] We also heard from the Dutch Sustainable Food Alliance (SFA) about a programme in the Netherlands, whereby professionals in the sector are trained to be able to forecast demand more effectively.[152] WRAP confirmed that it is working with the sector to "try to help them understand what works on a menu, how to design menus to reduce waste and to give the appropriate range of portion sizes".[153]

89.  Nando's acknowledged the importance of considering the impact of its activities elsewhere in the supply chain, including collective engagement in discussions with their suppliers.[154] Ultimately, though, large retailers hold such power over the market that the ability of smaller operators to influence the supply chain is "limited", a view that was shared by both the SRA and Dutch food banks.[155] The exception to this is where local supply chains and small suppliers are used. By working with local and small producers, retailers can react immediately to surplus supplies, whereas it becomes a much more difficult situation when larger retailers are included and operate at a national scale.[156]

Improving supply chain cooperation

90.  A common recognition throughout the evidence was that, while efforts made at each individual stage of the supply chain are important, there are strong links between these stages and it is critical to consider the supply chain as a whole. There was general agreement that cooperation along the supply chain is essential and that this would assist with food waste prevention.[157]

91.  Witnesses argued that there is currently a lack of an integrated approach across the supply chain.[158] Whilst more cooperation and integration throughout the supply chain is occurring, there needs to be more "rigidity and rigour", particularly at the earlier stages of the supply chain.[159] Such a view was echoed by FDF and Keep Britain Tidy (KBT), who argued that a whole supply chain approach is vital for achieving "real positive good", particularly in identifying where food losses are occurring.[160] Pointing to the Courtauld Commitment (see Appendix 5) and existing efforts to work up and down the supply chain, KBT noted that this has already produced positive results. It stressed, however, that it is more difficult for certain sectors and organisations, such as NGOs, to work across the entire food chain due to their more limited resources.[161]

92.  An example of how such an approach might help applies to food rejected by retailers, but which might potentially be used by food manufacturers. For manufacturers "the appearance of the raw material is not a primary consideration", with 'imperfect' food being used instead for products such as ready meals and soups.[162] On the other hand, there were some instances where manufacturers required products of equally high specification to those demanded by retailers in order that the product sizes are aligned to machines used to process them.[163] The supply chain is, therefore, highly complex, pointing to the need for sophisticated communication.

93.  The ease with which supply chain stages can work together is also influenced by differences between retailers in their relationship with their supply chains. The UK retailer Morrisons explained its integrated supply chain model, which meant they were able to "drive efficiency through flexibility".[164] This is achieved by purchasing direct from primary meat and produce farmers and suppliers in the UK, utilising more of what they buy in their own abattoirs or produce packhouses, buying whole animals and, where practical, processing whole crops. The combined effect of this is that Morrisons is better able to manage and reduce associated food waste than would otherwise be the case if it had less control over the supply chain. In owning its own packhouses, Morrisons has greater scope to use different parts of a crop by packaging them itself in a different way. Smaller potatoes, for example, can become 'baby roasters' or sold as a value line.[165]

94.  During our visit to the Netherlands, the inquiry heard how supply chain partners collaborate through the SFA. The SFA is composed of five umbrella organisations representing the various links of the Dutch food supply chain. Although initially brought together by the Dutch government, the funding was withdrawn and so the partners now cooperate on a voluntary basis. The aim of the SFA is to consider the Dutch food supply chain in its entirety, and it has a set common agenda with the Dutch government: to take responsibility as private actors in the supply chain and work together with the government. Presently, the SFA has four working groups, one of which includes food waste. The work of the SFA includes sharing best practice and tools across the supply chain, whilst also initiating research. Standards are set collectively within the private sector in a precompetitive manner, with the government ensuring that there is a level playing field and certain minimum standards. Food waste prevention and reduction is considered a top priority, and the SFA emphasised the importance of a commonality—particularly as regards language used throughout the entire supply chain. This translated to "a common approach, a common definition and a common framework".[166] The importance of such commonality was also highlighted by the Dutch government.[167] Examples of the work the SFA conducts included investigating waste "hotspots", pilot projects and contributing to harmonised monitoring methodologies.[168] Several witnesses made reference to the work of the SFA, noting the high degree of collaborative work.[169]

95.  WRAP's Product Sustainability Forum (see Appendix 5) provided another tangible example of whole supply chain working, cited by a number of witnesses.[170] 'Pathfinder' projects are currently underway. Specifically addressed at product categories that have the largest potential environmental impacts, these look from 'farm to fork' at waste in the supply chain and the results of such studies are then shared across the sector. One such example in the potato sector is set out in Box 5. In relation to its work on the whole supply chain approach WRAP commented:

    "[…] there are some great examples where we are starting to see some of those supply chains sitting down and thinking about this. We now have a Pathfinder[171] project […] looking at the beef supply chain, trying to work out where the hotspots are in that supply chain and getting the whole supply chain to sit down together and talk about how to address that. It would not happen naturally".[172]


WRAP Product Sustainability Forum Pathfinder project: resource efficiency in the potato supply chain
This project is a farm to fork assessment of the potential to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency in the potato supply chain. Detailed data on resource inputs and losses across the value chain have been compiled internally by the Co-operative Food and Farms, with support from WRAP. These have been translated into costs at each stage and sub-stage (e.g. grading, storage, washing, sorting), to demonstrate the financial case for intervention and inform the cost/benefit of taking action to reduce losses and optimise inputs.

A workshop with the Co-operative Food and Farms has been held, to review initial findings, discuss root causes and potential solutions. This included the potato buyer, packhouse manager, lead agronomist and other representatives from policy and commercial teams. A number of potential solutions to mitigate losses have been discussed. The follow-up project currently underway is working on an Action Plan to trial prioritised solutions.[173]

96.  There is limited cooperation among food supply chain stakeholders at the EU level. One example of such cooperation is the Retail Forum in the context of the Retailers' Environment Action Programme. The Retail Forum was established by the Commission in 2009, and is a multi-stakeholder platform intended to exchange "best practices on sustainability in the European retail sector". This platform was created in the belief that retailers can play a significant role in "provoking positive changes in patterns of consumer demand through their partnerships with suppliers and through their daily contact with European consumers".[174]

97.  The supply chain cooperation model observed in the Netherlands is, we conclude, helpful and self-sustaining. It is one that could be promoted at the national and European levels, along with the best practice from WRAP's whole supply chain work under the Product Sustainability Forum. We recommend that the European Commission considers bringing together EU level bodies representing the various parts of the supply chain, building on existing mechanisms. Consumers must be represented in such work.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator

98.  The inquiry took evidence about the new GCA in the UK (see Box 6), and particularly how the monitoring and enforcement activities of the GCA might include supply chain abuses that lead to food waste.


UK Groceries Code Adjudicator

The GCA is the UK's first independent adjudicator to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and their direct suppliers. It was established by the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act, which came into force in June 2013.

The GCA ensures that large supermarkets treat their direct suppliers lawfully and fairly by upholding and enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP). The GSCOP is a legally binding set of rules imposed on those supermarkets with a UK groceries turnover of over £1 billion.

If a supplier is concerned that there has been a breach of the GSCOP, it can complain to the GCA. The GCA can receive information about potential breaches of the GSCOP from anyone, and any complaints received are kept strictly confidential.

In enforcing the GSCOP, the GCA has the power to:

·  investigate confidential complaints from any source about how supermarkets treat their suppliers;

·  make recommendations to retailers if a complaint is upheld;

·  require retailers to publish details of a breach of the GSCOP;

·  in the most serious cases, impose a fine on the retailer; and

·  arbitrate disputes between retailers and suppliers.[175]

99.  The GCA confirmed that whilst the only part of the GSCOP that relates to food waste is poor demand forecasting, this has the potential to make a significant reduction in food waste (see paragraph 77).[176] At present, retailers can impose penalty fines on suppliers for not delivering against an order that may be substantially higher than a forecast. This can be a penalty of £10 a case, which in some instances is more than the value of the product. If the GCA can ensure that the supermarket accepts some of the financial responsibility, this could act as an incentive to improve retail forecasting and at the same time reduce overproduction at the producer level. The GCA argued that the current relationship between retailer and producer is "causing overproduction", and that, "it is the forecaster who drives production. If the retailer can get good at forecasting, that will help the supplier enormously".[177]

100.  Some witnesses considered that there would be a case for the GSCOP model to be extended across the EU.[178] This argument was particularly made in the context of the transnational nature of the grocery supply chain. WWF UK, for example, noted that a European level model could create a "slightly more level playing field", especially as multiple European retailers might use the same supplier from another country.[179] In considering a pan-European body, the inquiry heard from the GCA that the Commission favoured a "common code" that would be supported by individual Member State regulation.[180] This approach was supported by the GCA, claiming Member State regulation would be easier than introducing an "EU adjudicator". This issue is currently under review at the EU level in the context of the Retail Action Plan.

101.  The GCA referred to the current European voluntary code. This was launched in September 2013, mirroring the GSCOP but also going further in scope to include indirect[181] suppliers into the retail sector.[182] Although it currently lacks the teeth of the GSCOP model, the GCA stated that "There are moves afoot in Norway, Portugal, Ireland and Holland to do something similar to what we have, so there is a big push" to get some regulation to support it.[183]

  1. We support the development of a Grocery Supply Code of Practice across the EU, to be regulated by Member States and monitored by the European Commission. The development of the approach in the UK should feed into policy development at European level, where extension of the Code beyond direct relationships in the supply chain is welcome.

83   Q 110, Q 123 Back

84   Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27, BIO Intelligence Service, a report commissioned by the European Commission, October 2010 Back

85   Q 85 Back

86   Come have lunch on Damn Food Waste, NNCF, 14 June 2013 Back

87   IbidBack

88   IbidBack

89   Q 90 Back

90   Q 94 Back

91   Q 95 Back

92   Q 55, Q 199, Defra, NLWA, Packaging Federation, Shropshire Council, WRAP Back

93   Defra Back

94   NLWA Back

95   Q 207 Back

96   Copa-Cogeca Back

97   NLWA Back

98   Food waste reduction thanks to chip, Wageningen University, 17 January 2013 Back

99   Smart tags spell the end for sell-by dates, The Times, 18 March 2014 Back

100   Q 62 Back

101   Q 208 Back

102   Q 2, FDF, WRAP Back

103   Q 236, IME, NLWA Back

104   Q 288 Back

105   Q 190 Back

106   Q 288, Shropshire Council Back

107   QQ 36-37, Q 123, Q 165, Q 180, Q 254, ARAMARK, Copa-Cogeca, FDF Back

108   Q 87 Back

109   Q 206 Back

110   Regulation No 1169/2011, BRC supplementary Back

111   Q 37, BRC supplementary Back

112   Q 298 Back

113   Q 208 Back

114   Defra, Regulation No 1169/2011 Back

115   Q 84 Back

116   BRC supplementary Back

117   Q 1, Q 73, Q 83, Q 146, Q 165, FDF, INCPEN, Packaging Federation, WRAP Back

118   Q 1, Q  167 Back

119   Q 208 Back

120   Q 176, IME Back

121   Q 120 Back

122   Q 287, NFU Back

123   Q 45 Back

124   Q 59 Back

125   Q 16, Q 31, Q 172, IME, NFU Back

126   Q 6, Q 29, Q 31, Sodexo supplementary Back

127   Q 16 Back

128   Q 44, Q 67 Back

129   Feeding the 5,000 Back

130   Q 44 Back

131   Q 29, Q 67, Q 213 Back

132   Q 213 Back

133   Q 282 Back

134   Q 29, Q 43, Q 213, Defra, NFU Back

135   Q 43 Back

136   Q 67 Back

137   Most shoppers would buy 'ugly' fruit and veg, IME, 26 February 2013 Back

138   Q 213 Back

139   Q 29 Back

140   Q 6 Back

141   Q 214 Back

142   Q 33, Q 287 Back

143   Leading hospitality and food service companies sign up to waste agreement, WRAP, 27 June 2012 Back

144   Q 198 Back

145   WRAP Back

146   Q 257 Back

147   Q 262 Back

148   The SRA helps restaurants source food more sustainably, manage resources more efficiently and work more closely with their community. Restaurants are rewarded with a sustainability rating, which can assist diners in their choice of restaurants. Back

149   Unilever Food Solutions: United Against Waste toolkit, WRAP Back

150   Q 256, Q 264 Back

151   Q 261 Back

152   Q 165 Back

153   Q 199 Back

154   Q 259 Back

155   Q 176, Q 265 Back

156   QQ 264-265 Back

157   Q 27, Q 32, Q 165, Q 192, Q 196, Q 202, ARAMARK, Copa-Cogeca, NFU, Sodexo Back

158   Q 66 Back

159   Q 70 Back

160   Ibid., Q 27 Back

161   Q 70 Back

162   Q 31 Back

163   Q 18 Back

164   Morrisons Back

165   IbidBack

166   Q 165 Back

167   Q 123 Back

168   Q 165 Back

169   Q 96, Q 123, Q 150 Back

170   Q 7, Q 32, Q 192, Q 259, FDF, WRAP supplementary Back

171   Pathfinder projects, WRAP Back

172   Q 192 Back

173   Pathfinder projects, WRAP Back

174   About the Retail Forum, European Commission  Back

175   What we do, Groceries Code Adjudicator Back

176   Q 272 Back

177   Q 275 Back

178   Q 18, Feeding the 5,000, NFU Back

179   Q 44 Back

180   Q 272 Back

181   An indirect supply relationship involves an intermediary, such as a processor or manufacturer, between the producer and the retailer. This is distinct to a direct supply relationship between a producer and a retailer. Back

182   Q 271 Back

183   IbidBack

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