Sainsbury’s announces £1m funding to further fight against food waste
The commitment marks the second phase of its five-year, £10-million Waste less, Save more initiative, designed to help households save money by reducing the amount of food thrown away.
Announced at an event in Birmingham yesterday (8 October), the £1-million investment will be available to the 111 towns and cities that have signed up to be Waste less, Save more ‘Discovery Communities’, with others able to register interest now..
The communities have been tasked with implementing programmes that have proved successful during a year’s worth of research in Swadlincote in Derbyshire, where Sainsbury’s launched its first phase of the food waste scheme in January 2016, which tested different strategies to reduce waste that ranged from apps to encourage food sharing to school education programmes.
In addition to the funding, Sainsbury’s will provide the ‘Discovery Communities’ with detailed guidance to enable them to replicate the work in Swadlincote with a range of free or low-investment solutions. These include running community events and schools programmes, through to larger initiatives such as the introduction of new technology in households.
Communities will be able to pick and choose their options based on their requirements, and will be able to apply for top-up funding to put these in place. Those with additional ideas can also pitch concepts to a Waste less, Save more ‘Dragon’s Den’-style panel which will approve additional funding for outstanding concepts.
“With well over 100 communities already signed up, the response so far has been overwhelming and really highlights that the nation is waking up to food waste. Not only will a reduction have a huge environmental impact but it will help put more money back in the pocket of British people too.”
The Waste Less, Save More strategy so far
WRAP published a report in 2012 that 7 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted by households annually, with the average family throwing away £700 of food each year.
Launched in late 2015 in response to findings by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) that seven million tonnes of food and drink is wasted by households every year, Waste less, Save more is a five-year plan from Sainsbury’s to commit £10 million to help its customers waste less food and save more money.
Following a nationwide search last year, the Derbyshire market town of Swadlincote was selected to receive £1 million of funding to be a year-long test-bed for new initiatives to reduce waste.
Trials taking place in the town include the ‘Olio’ app, which encourages food sharing amongst neighbours, and the ‘Fab Foods’ programme which has been designed to engage local schools. Households are also testing innovative technology such as smart fridges with internal cameras that allows residents to view the contents via their smart phone and reduce overbuying. The trial also saw the testing of ‘artificial noses’, which detect when food is still edible, and cooking demonstrations to show how to use up leftovers.
Sainsbury’s, using WRAP figures, estimated that by achieving a 50 per cent reduction goal, residents could cut their annual food waste bill from an average of £700 to £350, saving Swadlincote families a total of £1,168,650 a year. If lessons learnt from the trial were adopted across the country, the supermarket suggests this could translate to an annual collection of £9.3 billion a year.
Commenting on the launch of the next phase, David Rogers, Head of WRAP’s International food waste programmes, said: “Today’s event has highlighted a huge appetite to reduce food waste across the country from local councils, community groups and businesses. WRAP’s research has shown the scale of food waste in the UK, and we know that action is needed – for people, our pockets and the planet. I’m delighted to see initiatives from Sainsbury’s shine a light on the issue of food waste, and we look forward to working together and supporting them every step of the way”.
More information about the Waste less, Save more campaign can be found on the supermarket’s website.