Supermarket Sweep?

  • 20/11/13
  • Comments: 0

By Mike Small

In the same week that new ‘Social Supermarkets’ opened catering for the very poorest across England – customers have to prove they are deserving (think of it like M&S in reverse) – a number of other supermarket stories have also hit the headlines …

The Sunday Times covered the story saying:

The store in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, will be supplied from surplus and waste stock provided by companies including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Ocado. It joins more than 1,000 similar stores that have opened in Europe, particularly in Greece and Spain, during the recession.

Twenty more social supermarkets will open in England next year. Six in London are being backed by Boris Johnson, the capital’s mayor, and his food adviser Rosie Boycott. The goods — from fresh fruit, meat and vegetables to tinned goods, expensive cheeses and toiletries — will cost on average a third of the normal retail price.

This is just institutionalized food poverty, with the added bonus of the supermarkets now benefiting in two ways. First they get some great PR from journalists too gullible or unthinking to do the story justice, and secondly they make a tidy extra profit from food they would have thrown away.

But this isn’t the best.

Tesco seems to be mixing up its food delivery with its food waste disposal. The Guardian explains (‘Tesco accused of carrying rubbish in food trucks to cut costs’):

The UK’s largest retailer has stopped using waste contractors to pick up and dispose of general rubbish, including unsold food, from its 600 largest supermarkets. Instead, bags of waste are piled into metal wheeled cages lined with clear plastic. These cages are picked up by the same trucks that deliver food to the stores once they have emptied their load. The trucks drop off the rubbish at a waste centre before returning to Tesco’s distribution centres to pick up more groceries and food to start the cycle again.

Nice. But this isn’t the best. Sum of Us reports:

A sperm whale that washed up in Spain died after swallowing almost 60 different pieces of plastic dumped by the greenhouses that supply Tesco, Carrefour and Aldi.

This 4.5 tonne whale was defeated by 17 kg of plastic waste, including two dozen sections of the transparent sheeting used to cover industrial greenhouses.

Sign the petition here.

Nice. But this isn’t the best, this is. You have to absolutely love this story here. Asda are running a foodbank for its own workers!

A spokesman for the chain — who opened their first jointly branded Asda/Walmart store in Scotland in 2001 — even had the chutzpah to spin this as good news:

This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.

Read the whole thing here.