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Food & Hunger

You Can Get 5KGs of 'Ugly' Fruit & Veg for £1.50 at Selected Lidl Stores


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals specifically call for global food waste to be halved by 2030. It’s absurd that so much food is still being wasted globally while people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Supermarkets play a key part in cutting waste out of the supply chain, both in the UK and globally. You can join us by taking action against food waste here

Budget supermarket Lidl has launched a trial of a new scheme to help rescue fruit and vegetables that are just a bit “wonky” from the rubbish bin. 

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., shoppers at 122 stores across the UK will be able to buy 5kg boxes of produce that’s slightly damaged or imperfect, but that’s still “perfectly good to eat,” according to the store. 

And the boxes will cost just £1.50 — so it should help save shoppers some money, too. 

Take action: Tweet Starbucks Asking Them to Donate 100% of Unused Food to Charity in the UK

From 10 a.m., any of the boxes that haven’t been sold will be donated to charity, according to Lidl’s announcement

It’s all part of a trial of the “Too Good to Waste” scheme, which aims to reduce the amount of food waste generated by supermarkets. 

“We know from our data that fresh produce is one of the biggest contributors to food waste in stores, so we’re excited by the difference our initiative will make,” said Lidl’s chief executive Christian Hartnagel in a statement. 

“Not only will it help customers consider items that they might have previously dismissed, it will also provide an opportunity for them to make further savings,” he added. 

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Shoppers also can’t choose what’s inside their boxes, so it could also help encourage people to experiment with new fruits and vegetables when they’re in season.

Lidl reckons that a nationwide rollout of “Too Good to Waste” could help save 10,000 tonnes of surplus produce every year. 

The supermarket has pledged to cut food waste per store by 25% by 2020, and it claims to have already reduced the average food waste per store by 13.3%. The store has also committed to the UN Global Goal’s 12.3 target, which calls for a 50% reduction in global food waste by 2030.  

Other supermarkets around the UK have also already joined the efforts against food waste — with a definite focus on fruits and vegetables. 

Asda, for example, launched a £3.50 “wonky veg box” in 2016, and Tesco has a “perfectly imperfect” fruit and veg range. Morrisons also sells £3 boxes of fresh but “ugly” produce, and recently expanded the scheme to help reduce the waste of fresh-cut flowers. 

Cutting the amount of fresh produce that’s going to waste around the world is a really important step in tackling the problems in the global food chain. 

Globally, around one-third of the food produced for human consumption — around 1.3 billion tonnes — is lost or wasted, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). The waste amounts to around $680 billion in industrialised countries, and $310 billion in developing countries. 

And, of all foods, fruits and vegetables — including roots and tubers — have the highest wastage rates. 

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According to the FAO, global quantitive food losses and waste annually are about 30% for cereals, up to 50% for root crops, fruits, and vegetables, 20% for oil seeds, meat, and dairy, and 35% for fish. 

Meanwhile, between 2015 and 2016, world hunger rose for the first year since 2000, according to a 2017 UN report. The number of chronically undernourished people rose from 777 million to 815 million in just one year. 

And in the UK alone, the average household throws away £700 worth of edible food every year, according to the government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) — while 1 in 8 people are going hungry. WRAP has also estimated that the food industry is responsible for around 10 million tonnes of food waste each year. 

And food and environmental group Feedback has said that supermarkets play a key role in this supply chain waste. The campaign group has highlighted four key ways that supermarkets help drive waste: 

  1. Cosmetic specifications — meaning that supermarkets generally will buy fresh produce only if it fits exact size, shape, and colour specifications. 
  2. Failure to market seasonal produce — certain weather conditions can lead to “gluts,” meaning that there’s a lot of a particular type of fruit or veg. When there’s a glut, however, if the items aren’t marketed properly, they don’t get sold and they end up going to waste.
  3. Cancelled or altered orders — a significant driver of waste is the difference between buyers’ forecasts and confirmed orders, including last-minute order cancellations. 
  4. Concentration of power among supermarkets — with power concentrated in leading supermarkets in the UK, there are fewer outlets for surplus produce, like traditional grocers and markets.