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Are UK supermarkets doing enough to tackle food waste?

24th February - 03rd March 2023

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

Every year around 9.5 million tonnes of food is thrown away. That’s a massive number which cannot be ignored. There has been a rise in the number of campaigns related to food waste in the UK from different campaigns such as the Love Food Hate Waste campaign from WRAP.

With the increase of awareness of not only the issues around food poverty but also the environmental impact, many organisations such as UK Harvest and The Felix Project are working to reduce the amount of food that is wasted in the UK.

For Food Waste Action Week (6th-12th March), voters considered the action being taken by UK supermarkets to tackle this ever-growing problem. In the lessons, they explored what is being done and how – if at all – this might be improved.

young child

Age 5-11

"I think supermarkets should do more as they are in control of what is in the shop and the date given. However, I think food waste should be down to the people buying it, they should take responsibility for what they buy."


Age 11-16

"No, and they won't in the future either. Supermarkets, like most other companies, do NOT care about ethics, only profit earned. If they decide to tackle food waste, they'll most likely lose profit, and stop immediately.”

older teenager

Age 16+

"Stop Wasting Food. Supermarkets could do more, like sending wasted food to charities. They should also make fresh produce loose packaging so people would take only what they need. Supermarkets need to put people over profits and think more about our future!"

67% of those aged 5-7 said supermarkets are helping us to throw away less food.

  • 5-7-year-olds answered the question, "Are supermarkets helping us to throw away less food?"
  • The majority voted 'Yes', with the comments highlighting examples of how they are helping, such as donating food.
  • There was also an emphasis in the comments on individuals taking responsibility for the food they buy, as many food waste issues stem from consumers.
77% of voters aged 7-11 said that supermarkets need to do more to tackle food waste.

  • 7-11-year-olds answered, "Do supermarkets need to do more to tackle food waste?"
  • Whilst our youngest voters believed supermarkets do help the food waste crisis, this voting outcome suggests there is more to be done.
  • Many of the comments showed a similar theme however, that consumers are also responsible for tackling food waste issues.
80% of voters aged 11-16 agreed, saying that UK supermarkets aren't doing enough.

  • Are 11+ voters answered the question, "Are UK supermarkets doing enough to tackle food waste?"
  • Like our 7-11-year-old voters, the majority voted 'No'. This was a stronger majority however, with an 80% 'No' vote.
82% of those aged 16+ had an even higher 'No' result, believing that UK supermarkets are not doing enough to tackle food waste.

  • Are highest 'No' vote came from our voters aged 16+, with 82% voting that UK supermarkets need to do more to tackle food waste.
  • The comments mirrored those from other age brackets, that supermarkets and consumers both need to do more to tackle the food waste crisis.
Age 5-7: Yes - 66.6% No - 33.4% Age 7-11: Yes - 77.1% No - 22.9% Age 11-16: Yes - 19.9% No - 80.1% 16+: Yes - 18.3% No - 81.7%

Feedback from our Impact Partners

This week, youth voice was heard by a range of partners in the supermarket sector and in the third sector.

UK Harvest, a charity which distributes leftover food as well as provides food education, made this video in response to what young people said this week. A number of their team were keen on responding from their bases in Chichester and London.