Hi Skint pals,
How was your weekend? I spent it in London, at the Write On Finance Blog Up, a meet up for UK personal finance and thrifty living bloggers across the UK, organised by Help Me to Save. What a great time I had, putting faces to names that I’ve been tweeting with for months .
More about that later, but first I want to share something that preoccupied me all the way home. While waiting on my return flight from Luton on Sunday evening I nipped into the airport Boots to get some snacks. At the fridges – there’s a whole wall of fridges – the shop assistant was scooping armfuls of sandwiches, salads etc into bin bags.
‘Isn’t the fridge stuff for sale any more?’ I asked.
‘You can still buy that food there’ – she pointed to a tiny section – ‘but all this stuff goes out of date today so I’m getting rid of it.’
It was 7pm. There were hundreds and hundreds of snacks in these binbags.
‘What do you do with them?’ I asked.
There really must have been about two hundred packs of sandwiches. Pals, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Seeing all this food getting loaded into binbags I said it was a waste to chuck them. The shop assistant agreed and said that Boots used to give the food to homeless charities (this food wasn’t out of date, remember), but that they stopped doing so because of health and safety. I’m assuming that means Boots don’t want to be held liable if someone gets ill from eating a freebie snack.
Whilst I understand the liability dilemma that Boots might face, I left the shop on Sunday night feeling that such food waste is plain wrong. If the food is still in date is there any more liability around giving it away than there is around selling it? And even if it’s considered too much hassle to take food to a local shelter, is it naive to suggest that Boots might even at least just give the sandwiches free to customers, or to delayed travellers at departure gates?
I like Boots. It’s one of the few high street stores that I’d really miss if it closed, and their Advantage Card is most generous loyalty card I’ve found. But to see such a blatant waste of food at a time when so many people are struggling doesn’t sit well with me.
It got me thinking about all of the hundreds of stores getting rid of food every evening. Where does it all go? And how could it be put to better use? One of the bloggers that I met at the weekend was Viviana of The Lean Times, who blogs all her thrifty meals each week. Perhaps with all the talk over the weekend about looking after our cash I was especially tuned into that, but I do think such waste would trouble me at any time. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is great on how we can reduce food waste and gives some cracking tips for what to do with surplus food.
What do you think folks? Am I getting hot and bothered over nothing? What do you think about food getting binned at the end of every working day? Any ideas on how it could be better used? Maybe we can share our ideas with Boots.