Supermarkets have role to play in reducing food waste – FG MEP Candidate Andrew Doyle Scope to introduce outlets to sell ‘waste food’ at reduced prices, says FG European Election Candidate. ‘If food waste was a country, it would be the third highest global emitter of greenhouse gases
Changing the way we view out of date food products could drastically reduce the amount of food we bin in our households, said Fine Gael European Election candidate for Ireland South, Andrew Doyle, adding that supermarkets need to change marketing practices to focus on selling better, not just selling more.
“Every year, one third of food bought in our Irish supermarkets is thrown in the bin, costing households about €1000. As a nation we are binning one million tonnes of food every year – this is a hefty enough chunk of the 89 million tonnes of food wasted across Europe annually and shameful when we consider that 15% of our population has experienced food poverty at some point. This rises to 35% for those on low incomes.
“It has been estimated that all the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in Europe, the UK and the US.
“Credit needs to be given to Irish organisations such as FoodCloud, which arranges the redistribution of surplus food from supermarkets to charities in Ireland and the UK. FoodCloud links suppliers directly to breakfast clubs, homeless hostels or family support services willing to collect the free food via a smartphone app. But more responsibility needs to be laid on the giant supermarket chains which are generating huge profit margins.
“Denmark has managed to reduce its waste total by 25% over the past five years, by changing the way they look at out of date produce. Most major supermarket chains now offer food that is close to or just beyond its ‘Best Before’ or ‘Sell By’ dates, at a reduced price. While Irish supermarkets do engage in this practice, the offering of products is not as extensive as it should be.
“A specialised Danish company has opened two shops in Copenhagen. All of its products are donated by producers, import-export companies and supermarkets and sold at more or less half their normal price. The UK also opened its first dedicated shop for ‘waste food’ near Leeds recently. This is good news for the consumer as they are buying proper food for reduced prices – and the profits are donated to charity.
“I see scope to grow this idea in Ireland, particularly as we know that one in eight of our citizens have experienced food poverty at some point, and will be exploring this idea if elected to the European Parliament.
“Our challenge in Ireland is to force, through improving our own habits, supermarkets to take on their share of social responsibility. Increasing the amount of end-of-life products for sale, donating these products to worthy charities, being transparent about where the excess food goes – all will go some distance towards changing how we view food and our consumption of it.”
MEP candidate in the ‘Ireland South’ constituency for Fine Gael
Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture
Andrew Doyle is the Fine Gael MEP candidate for the Ireland South constituency in the upcoming European elections. He is currently the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, with responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture.
His long political career has resulted in extensive experience and knowledge at a national, European and global level – across a variety of key topics such as agriculture, food, fisheries, marine, tourism and business. A member of Fine Gael since 1983, Andrew has served the party at every level from constituency chair to County Councillor, to serving as a TD, front bench spokesperson on agriculture, Chair of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, and now as Minister.
The European Union is pivotal to Ireland and it is vital for Ireland to remain in the heart of Europe. Ireland needs a strong and effective voice in Europe – Andrew Doyle is that voice.
Andrew Doyle has five key priorities in this campaign. He will work to:
Ensure Ireland and Leinster remain in the heart of Europe
Protect the environment and promote climate friendly food production
Support the farming community, ensure CAP is retained and promote the Agri-Food and Drink sector
Cut red-tape and bureaucracy for SMEs and Businesses
Support EU overseas development aid
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