BBC one and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall declare the War on Waste

On Monday 9th of November the second and currently last episode of BBC one’s Hugh’s War on Waste aired, where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall investigates how waste, and food waste in particular, can be reduced in the U.K. and what role large supermarket chains play in this battle of trash.

Waste is a huge problem in the U.K. and food waste is not only an environmental issue but also a moral one. How can we justify that 33% of the food farmers produce won’t make it to our plates? 1.1 billion people are living in poverty with less food that they need every day while the recycling factories of rich countries like the United Kingdom are flooded with perfectly edible produce every day. In the U.K. this food waste amounts to a loss of 700 pounds per person per year.

On BBC ones new show Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall looks at the source of modern food waste as well as the policies that make food waste inevitable. While looking into private fridges, trash bins of residents and supermarkets alike, sitting on top of 10 minutes worth of textile waste in a shopping mall, picking food and facing devastated farmers Hugh not only finds many causes of waste but also discovers ridiculous beauty standards.

So far the show aired two of its three episodes with each one hour long and it was filmed in Norfolk and Prestwich in Greater Manchester.

On this journey or rather war on waste Hugh also starts educating people about recycling, food safety, helps clean out their bins and organizes a zero waste fair for an entire neighborhood. He confronts large supermarkets and demands a change in beauty standards for fruits and vegetables. Finally Britain is asked to sign a petition to help reduce food waste in general. Hugh’s War on Waste will resume next spring with the results.

After watching both episodes it is clear that U.K. supermarkets are struggling with the idea of selling “ugly” produce. There is no doubt that people are buying with their eyes wide open but there are proven alternatives to refusing the not so pretty brother of your normal vegetable. In France this was incorporated by selling the ugly produce destined for the compost (in the best case) at lower prices. People loved it and farmers could sell more of their produce. It’s possible as you can see in the following video.

Intermarche – ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables’ from Goodvertising on Vimeo.

Looking at the following link of the “Inglorious Produce”, Intermarché not only did a revolutionary act of food saving but also sold out their entire inglorious stock, expanded their product line, had an increase in customers by 24%, and got international media coverage. So let’s ask the British supermarkets: what are you afraid of?

If you are interested in the latest news you can follow the series on BBC one’s website, follow Hugh on Twitter or check out the links with hashtag #wastenot. There is also a Facebook page on Hugh’s War on Waste for more information.

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