The supermarket idea that could save us money and stop waste: Would you support it?

It wasn’t just carbon emissions being debated in Paris last week, French MPs unanimously voted to end food waste in

It wasn’t just carbon emissions being debated in Paris last week, French MPs unanimously voted to end food waste in supermarkets, granting the government the power to force supermarkets in the country to give away unsold food that has reached its sell-by date.

The law was originally proposed in May but faced a challenge; it has now been passed.

Supermarkets will also be banned from destroying food that is still edible – specifically, the practice of soaking food in bleach has been prohibited, the Guardian reports.

The law will come into effect after it has been formally approved by the upper house of the French parliament, on 13 January, and the legislation was described in the house as a “crucial measure for the planet”.

It’s extremely rare for a law to be passed so quickly through the French parliament, especially with unanimous support.

Under the new law, ordinary French people can set up associations to collect an distribute the unsold food. Campaigners hope to see the legislation rolled out across the EU and eventually, the world.

In France, an estimated 7.1m tonnes of food are wasted.

Here in Australia, we waste up to $5.2 billion of food each year. RMIT’s Dianne McGrath told Food Magazine the average Australian household throws out about 20 per cent of the food they buy from supermarkets, greengrocers and other stores.

“[This] is equivalent to one in every five bags of groceries or $1,036 per household annually,” Ms McGrath said.

“While a number of supermarkets donate small amounts of still consumable food to food rescue organisations such as FareShare, Foodbank, OzHarvest, and SecondBite to help feed the hungry, too much perfectly good food is thrown in supermarket dumpsters every day.”

That’s not to say efforts aren’t being made. Woolworths has pursued a policy of moving to zero food waste to landfill by the end of this year, donating to Foodbank and Ozharvest, or giving food to zoos or to be made into fertiliser.

Similarly, ALDI Australia said it’s committed to minimising food wastage.

“We have a number of processes and policies in place to ensure that very little food sold on our shelves ends up as waste,” an ALDI spokesperson told Food Magazine. “In 2014 we donated 990,688 kilograms of food to OzHarvest, which equates to 2,972,064 meals. Donated food includes, fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, raw meat, drinks, desserts, pastries and dry goods.”

Would you like to see a law put in place that prevents supermarkets from throwing away any food? What are your top tips for reducing food waste?


  1. We desperately need to do this. Food wastage by supermarkets is criminal especially as poorer countries and families and drought effected areas are in need of help.

  2. A person who is ‘homeless’; parents who cannot afford to feed their children – they will ‘shop’ at any time of the day or night to feed themselves or their family. At the end of the days trading, how hard would it be to provide an ‘area’ where ‘short life’ products that otherwise would be disposed of, be placed for those ‘late night shoppers’ to help themselves.

  3. There are wonderful people who go to all the stores and pick up donations of any food at the end of the day,fruit veg’ bread anything,and give to those in need,… ,

  4. Anne Blyth  

    Most definitely….the better food for people the rest for animals or recycling as compost. My father in law spent years driving around 40 klms each way daily yo ciollect old food fro. Supermarkets to feed to hid cows, it helped keep them happy and healthy in their dry climate.

    • Anne Blyth  

      Sorry about typos, technologically impaired.

    • Susan Gabriel  

      It’s not the ‘housewives’ i.e. women who are mothers and stay at home, I doubt they can afford to waste food, no, it’s the working people, men and women who are too tired to cook food bought in advance who resort to take-away meals and delivered meals because they can afford to.

  5. Food wastage is criminal when so many are starving, or at least unable to afford the right foods, let’s face it; cheap food is poor food but readily available. Pies, chips etc from the freezer. We cruise a lot and it angers me to see people pile the plates high and leave most of it. For heaven’s sake, take a portion, if you’re still hungry take a little bit more. Even the crew say to us, we love to see clean plates.

  6. Would I like to see a law put in place which prevents supermarkets from throwing away any food? Yes.

    What are my top tips for reducing food waste? Only buy what one needs and only prepare/cook what one will eat for that meal.

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