Tonight the BBC did a variation of the Great British Menu series with the Great British Waste Menu. The chefs had to source their produce from supermarket bins, markets and scrap that food producers throw out. The trailers with Michelin star chefs dump diving did not not make this a must watch program. They got Richard Corrigan, Angela Hartnet, Matt Tebbutt and Simon Rimmer to cook the first round from the food that they found. The winners then went on to cook a banquet for 60 people from even more waste food. Sounds impossible? It was ridiculously easy. You can watch it here.
The shocking things that this program highlighted were:
- how much perfectly edible food the supermarkets chuck out because the packaging is dented or it’s reached the sell by date. (I know that the bigger chains sell on meat past the shelf date to smaller chains who repackage it and sell it with a different date.)
- the amount of fruit and veg that producers reject because the supermarkets don’t want them because they are too small or too large. I personally don’t mind misshapen fruit and veg as it is natural
- the amount of meat and offal that gets discarded because people are squeamish about the idea of offal
- fish that is wasted because it is not cod
- eggs that can’t be sold because they are too small – ridiculous
Come on, in this economy when everyone is complaining about rising costs, the food bill can be massively reduced if some of this wasted food can get to consumers. There are some charities who redistribute this food but I think they are hardly making a dent in the mountain of waste.
Why can’t supermarkets put this stuff on a cheap aisle. Might lower their margins per square foot, but lots of brownie points. Win win there isn’t it?
As for the fruit and veg farms, why can’t they sell them locally and let people know that they can get this stuff cheaper than at supermarkets and they don’t have to plough them back into the ground. As for the offal, there must be a way to encourage people to buy and make some creative recipes from this.
What the programme didn’t really address is how they should tackle this. Getting the average person to not throw out food that they bought from supermarkets will hardly make a difference.
Someone needs to apply some common sense here. I feel a campaign coming on.