LONDON, June 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Supermarkets
will lose customers and risk going out of business unless they
take radical steps to eliminate food waste from their
operations, a food expert said on Thursday.
Changing consumer preferences - and heightened awareness
about the cost of waste - mean retailers need to adapt quickly
if they want to keep current consumers happy and attract new
ones, said Liz Goodwin of the U.S.-based World Resources
Institute think tank.
Goodwin said food waste is now factored into consumers'
everyday decision making and they expect information about what
initiatives businesses are undertaking to reduce it.
"Over time, we'll see a shift because people become more
aware of others who don't have food and also the financial cost
of food waste," Goodwin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation
during a trip to Britain.
Between 30 and 40 percent of food produced around the world
goes to waste because it is spoiled or thrown away.
A study published in March showed that for every dollar
spent on reducing food waste, companies could save an average of
$14, lowering the cost of food production, storage and waste
Food waste also increases greenhouse gas emissions, and
highlights global wealth disparities with continued hunger
crises and famine warnings in other parts of the world.
At a time of low trust in institutions and governments, she
said businesses should offer information to help customers with
their choices, in order to build a relationship based on trust.
(Reporting by Magdalena Mis @magdalenamis1, editing by Lyndsay
Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)