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French Law Bans Supermarket Food Waste

23rd September 2016

As of July this year, French supermarkets with a footprint of over 400 square meters are banned by law from throwing away or deliberately spoiling unsold food. Instead, unsold food must be donated to charities and food banks enabling wastage from large food retailers to be reduced.

This new legislation aims to tackle both food waste from retail outlets and the growing number of individuals who are unable to afford three meals a day. Indeed, these problems are not limited to France and the politician who spearheaded the campaign has called upon the EU as well as the UK and USA to put similar legislation in place.

In the UK, the Courtauld Commitment 2025 seeks to reduce waste within the UK grocery sector. While it is a voluntary agreement, many leading retailers are signatories, including Waitrose, who ecoVeritas have assisted with previous Courtauld data returns. Although targeting waste more broadly than that in the supermarket bin, the Commitment does aim to improve the value obtained from unavoidable food waste. One potential value in this is the donation of foods to food bank and food provision charities.

The French law will probably be successful in reducing the wastage in supermarket bins. However, it will be interesting to assess the broader consequences of this legislation on food waste in the wider French food system by producers, retailers and consumers.


The Independent
WRAP – The Courtauld Commitment

Picture by: Vladimir Kirakosyan