Supermarkets urged to adopt Wrap guidance on surplus own-brand food

Supermarkets are being urged to adopt the most recent Wrap guidance on dealing with surplus own-brand food, amid revelations that many charities are unable to redistribute these lines.

At present, Sainsbury’s is the only grocer to have adopted the new guidelines.

A number of charities told The Grocer that they are currently unable to redistribute own-label supermarket food. This is despite the best practice issued by Wrap last summer, which urged supermarkets to rethink rules limiting the redistribution of their own-label food products.

Rules designed to protect the integrity and food safety of supermarket labels mean that only FareShare and Company Shop (the largest redistribution operators) are currently able to work with all supermarkets to access surplus own-label products.

In July last year, Wrap called on retailers to expand their reach and work with more redistributors, setting out clear requirements for future partners. Only Sainsbury’s has so far agreed to implement this change.

Read more: £1.17bn worth of fruit and veg going to waste, Sainsbury’s reveals

“It is a real issue, particularly with supermarkets who have concerns over brand integrity and understandably want to ensure there are no safety issues,” said David Carter, CEO of City Harvest London.

“We can understand that companies don’t want just any organisation to be distributing this food, but we are a highly professional organisation. We are a £5m charity that’s feeding upwards of 30 million people across London.”

CEO of Food Works Rene Meijer empathised with Carter’s claims. “We’ve been trying for some time to get access to own-label products and have been trying to persuade retailers to allow this to happen without success,” she said.

“It’s a massive problem leading to an enormous waste of food which could otherwise feed people in need and it’s because there is no incentive for the supermarkets. It’s not their costs and it’s not their waste, so they don’t regard it as their problem.”

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