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Sainsbury's seeks town for food waste experiment

The hunt is on for a ‘guinea pig’ community to undergo sustainability experiments as part of a £10m Sainsbury’s project to tackle food waste.

The retailer is looking for a town with a population of between 15,000 and 300,000 that will benefit from a £1m package under its five-year £10m Waste Less, Save More initiative.

The winning town will be announced on 1 December. It could benefit from innovations such as fridges that track when food is beginning to go off, talking bins, recycling reward programmes, new packaging that keeps food fresher and education programmes.

The project will start in 2016 and results from the first year will be made public to benefit other communities. Sainsbury’s will then work to improve on the results, and introduce and explore additional innovations.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “We know that waste – and particularly food waste – is a big challenge for households across the UK, and it is something our customers really care about.

“Investing significantly in this area clearly demonstrates the scale of our ambition over the next five years, and shows just how committed we are to helping our customers make a real difference in this area. We are confident that the project, which will start with trialling and testing in one UK town, will result in positive change for many more.”

WRAP director sustainable food systems, Dr Richard Swannell, said: “We know through our Love Food Hate Waste and Courtauld Commitment work that innovation and collaboration can significantly help to reduce waste, delivering much-needed cost and environmental savings.

“We look forward to working closely with Sainsbury’s throughout the project to share our experience and expertise to make a real difference locally and nationally.”

Resource minister Rory Stewart said: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste, and I congratulate Sainsbury’s for looking at innovative solutions to address this nationwide problem. Waste Less, Save More is bringing together a major retailer and communities to generate new ideas to tackle this issue.”

As well as the population criterion, a nominated town must have a Sainsbury’s store within five miles. The retailer is also specifies that the town demonstrates a strong sense of community and be keen to tackle food waste.

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