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December 17, 2011

Bob Gordon,
BRC Head of Environment
The idea that supermarket special-offers cause a large amount of food waste has been exposed as a myth by a new, Government-backed report.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is highlighting research conducted by waste reduction body WRAP which found that, while just under half of shoppers (44 per cent) think buying food on offer leads to a greater amount being thrown away, one in 25 (4 per cent) actually wasted food bought as part of a promotion during the survey period.

The survey also showed the most common type of promotion is a straight price reduction. "Buy one get one free" (BOGOF) offers account for less than two per cent of all products bought.

The BRC says the debate about food waste should focus on helping households to reduce the amount they throw away rather than blaming retail practices. The report builds on recent figures published by WRAP showing a 13 per cent decrease in household food waste over the past three years.

British Retail Consortium Head of Environment, Bob Gordon, said: "This research is extremely helpful. It clearly shows that, while people assume other shoppers are wasting food they buy on promotion, over 90 per cent are not wasting it themselves. Households throw away 30 per cent of the food they buy. This new evidence demonstrates BOGOFs are not to blame.

"The amount of food waste produced by households has been coming down – with the help of retailers – but there's more to do. Our critics should join us in addressing the real reasons for food waste. We need to educate people to shop smarter and do better at managing the storage and use of food in their homes rather than blaming promotions.

"Price competition between the supermarkets is keeping costs down for hard-pressed consumers at a time when fuel and utility bills are sky-high. There are loads of promotions on the shelves because they're highly valued by customers. Let's stop wasting time talking about promotions causing food waste when it's clearly not the issue."

Notes to editors

The WRAP report, "Investigation into the possible impact of promotions on food waste", is available here


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