I am sure we have all done it; walked down an aisle in a multiple and there in front of us is a wonderful display of punnets of nectarines, with the bogof pos drawing us ever closer. Do we want a punnet of nectarines? No! Do we want two punnets of nectarines? No! But we cannot resist, lured by the perceived value of the deal, much of which will end up in the bin.
While the government's criticism of the multiples may seem valid, will the £1.99 bogof punnet be simply replaced by a 99p punnet, or one of an endless number of marketing strategies designed to tempt us to buy more than we need?
The way you change spending habits is through education not legislation; making the consumer aware of the global problems involved in feeding the world's population.
I would like to see legislation against the multiples to force them to record and disclose their wastage levels and even fines imposed where it is excessive. Their shelves are always full, but is this with goods that their extensive stock control systems know they will sell, or is it simply to provide an attractive display to tempt the consumer?
I suspect the latter, and it is very rare that I visit a multiple and don't see a member of staff pushing a trolley around taking off lots of out-of-date stock.
As a smaller retailer I face the same problems, but as my wastage is my personal loss I work tirelessly to keep it to a minimum. This is one of the key reasons I have remained independent and shop at Booker daily, allowing me to exercise good stock management by keeping on top of the dreaded sell-by dates.
What stock we do lose, I encourage my staff to take either for their own use or their pets and, for me, dinner is often what was due to come off sale that night.