An online petition addressed to David Cameron calling on supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities has received more than 115,000 signatures within a week of being launched.
The petition was published by the campaigning group 38 degrees and follows approval in the French parliament of legislation banning supermarkets from sending food to landfill.
Under the new French law, supermarkets with an area over 400sq m have until July 2015 to sign contracts with charities to take their food waste.
If food is sent to landfill after this date they will be fined up to €75,000 (£53,000).
Fareshare, which sends unwanted food in the UK to charities and community groups, said: “Food surplus is not solely a supermarket issue. In fact, the majority of surplus food is further up the supply chain.
“While Government intervention can be a positive step in trying to achieve waste minimisation and a fairer system that promotes surplus redistribution in the food industry, we believe that the best results are obtained when food companies realise the potential and the benefits linked to redistribution.”
Lizzie Swarf, the original poster of the petition, also wants shoppers who use supermarket delivery services to donate an extra £2 per delivery so that fresh fruit and vegetables can be delivered to poorer households.
“You might be utterly surprised, David Cameron, just how many of us would be willing to sign up to such a scheme, thus ensuring the sick, disabled and elderly have a much-needed helping hand,” Swarf said.
“Please consider this idea very seriously as it is based upon pure logic and the sharing of resources that are currently simply wasted.”