Food waste is on the rise in convenience stores and supermarkets due to the nationwide shortage of HGV drivers.
Retailers across the UK reported that late deliveries both into wholesalers and subsequently into stores were slashing the on-sale times in stores.
The trend was confirmed to betterRetailing by surplus food experts Too Good to Go, whose app allows retailers to sell off short-life stock to new customers.
Harj Gill, owner of Select and Save in Rubery, Birmingham, said: “We have seen a couple of issues. It’s mainly the delivery you expected on a Wednesday is turning up the following evening, so you’ve lost a day or two of sales for perishable goods.”
Ketul Desai, owner of The General Store in Tufnell Park has seen the effect of the driver shortages on his deliveries and said he has experienced many challenges.
He told betterRetailing: “The biggest challenge is when you’re waiting for a chilled order, and it comes the next day in the evening.
“Then you only have two days left to sell it. We’ve lost about £200 over 13 days to food wastage.”
Cotswolds-based Nisa retailer Harj Dhasee agreed with Desai. He said: “We’re definitely affected by the driver shortage. The issues started three or four weeks ago.
“Deliveries that are expected to arrive between 6am and 8am don’t arrive until the afternoon or evening, so you lose a day of sales.
“The way we’re dealing with it is through Too Good To Go ‘Magic Bags’ – anything at risk of being wastage due to a short expiry date is sold for a third of the price on the app,” he added.
Asked about the trend, Too Good To Go confirmed an increase in the volume of ‘Magic Bags’ being sold in June as the driver crisis worsened.
The company’s UK managing director, Paschalis Loucaides, told betterRetailing: “We have been shocked to hear how much food is being wasted because of the HGV driver shortage in the UK and are working closely with our retail partners to help ensure surplus unsold food is redistributed through our app to consumers.
“Food waste contributes to 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, that’s 2% more than the aviation industry. When issues like this occur, it undoes all the good food businesses and households are doing to reduce their food waste and puts undue pressure on our supply chain.
“Now is the time for action and for the government to step in so food is eaten and enjoyed instead of being wasted.”
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