Report: One-sixth of UK food budgets go toward packaging

March 9, 2004, The average UK consumer spends roughly one-sixth of its food budget on packaging, reveals a new report by The Liberal Democrats.

The report, “How Green is Your Supermarket?,” shows that UK customers together spend up to £15bn (US$27.6bn) on food packaging every year.

The report, which is based on responses from the UK’s nine largest supermarket chains, aims to set out best practice and recommendations for supermarkets to improve their environmental performance.

Also highlighted in the report was the distance traveled by supermarket lorries which together travel the equivalent of two return trips to the moon every day. Per year, supermarket lorries travel 670 million miles.

The report found that there is now one supermarket per 10,000 people in Britain, with the nine biggest chains covering an area equivalent to 15,000 football pitches.

"The Government must take action to encourage supermarkets to establish national standards, and reach national targets,” said Lib Dem shadow environment secretary Norman Baker MP.

"Supermarkets are now a major part of our communities. With one supermarket for every 10,000 people, the big chains have a duty to provide environmentally-friendly alternatives, support local producers and the British organic industry, and commit to saving energy," Baker added.

The UK’s nine largest supermarket chains are Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Safeway, Somerfield, the Co-op, M&S and Waitrose. Together they account for 88% of food sales.

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