A Scottish Government food waste campaign, which placed staff in major supermarket chains, did not allow them to advise shoppers to buy less food or avoid ‘buy one, get one free’ offers.
The campaign, which has the strapline “shop smarter, waste less, save more”, has come under criticism from environmental groups and a Green party MSP after the Sunday Herald claimed a conflict of interest.
The campaign published a guidance document, given to the food waste campaign staff, which warned: “We cannot be seen to be telling people to buy less, not purchase Bogofs etc, when we are in Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. This was a very difficult partnership to secure due to the sensitivities so we must consider this.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland accused the Government of selling out to the supermarkets by disregarding waste prevention, which is the top priority of the waste hierarchy.
Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “We will never tackle our over-consumption of food or the obesity crisis while retailers constantly push deals that encourage you to buy more than you intended.”
The Scottish Government said more than 90% of those who visited the supermarket stalls took action to reduce food waste as a result.
Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys told the Herald they were committed to reducing food waste by giving consumers advice on ways to make food go further.
The aim of the food waste campaign was to prevent people throwing away up to 20% of their food, which costs Scotland around £1bn every year.