Waitrose has been faced with backlash after allegedly binning bags of bread before their expiration date.
The news has sparked debate online on how supermarkets should be managing their food waste, and comes paired with concerns during a cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation.
A Waitrose shopper said she spotted the supermarket staff loading the loaves into a large plastic bag at the branch in Mill Hill, London last week.
The customer claimed to have offered to take the bread to a local food bank to which the staff allegedly replied that the items must be disposed of due to “allergy concerns.”
At 5pm as @waitrose #MillHill #Barnet is closing, staff are binning bags of #bread that is in date with full allergy info displayed. I offered to deliver it to a local #foodbank but wasn't allowed. How can this be ethical or excusable? pic.twitter.com/G3nlVz4b8d
— Juliet Landau-Pope (she/her) (@jlpcoach) August 21, 2022
She took to Twitter to share her encounter, writing: “At 5pm as @waitrose #MillHill #Barnet is closing, staff are binning bags of #bread that is in-date, with full allergy info displayed.
“I offered to deliver it to a local #foodbank but wasn’t allowed. How can this be ethical or excusable?”
The tweet received high engagement and has now collected over 4,000 likes with more than 1,700 retweets from social media users who slammed the supermarket.
Waitrose have since responded, saying: “We are sorry to see this and will be making sure that no food which is safe to consume is wasted.
“We want all of our food to be eaten and it’s our policy that any unsold food that is still safe to consume is either redistributed to those in need.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Food manufacturers and suppliers could have it written into supermarket contracts that, providing any food is in date and fit for human consumption, all unsold items must be offered to food banks rather than just being destroyed.
“It would cut food waste, help the poor and be good PR.”
A Waitrose spokesperson said: “We aim to give all suitable surplus food to good causes, with over 8.5 million meals donated to date.
“All our shops have charity partners, but this bread wasn’t given away due to a misunderstanding over allergens. This has since been rectified.”