Supermarkets ordered to help reduce food waste

Environment secretary says Britain needs a "radical rethink" of the way it produces and consumes foo

Buy-one, get-one-free offers could be phased out from supermarkets under government plans to reduce Britain's huge food wastage.

Instead of these 'bogof' deals, supermarkets could be told to offer half-price deals and package food in a greater range of sizes, to cater for single people as well as for families.

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, warned that a "radical rethink" of the way Britain produces and consumes food is needed.

According to the environment department, eliminating food waste would cut carbon emissions equivalent to taking a fifth of Britain's cars off the roads. The government is also keen to drastically cut packaging from food by 2020 and to promote reuse and recycling.

Benn was speaking as he launched the government's new food strategy document, which revealed that prices have risen sharply in the last two years, largely as a result of increased energy costs, after decades of falling food prices.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs will demand that stores agree to a tough target on reducing food waste, or face legislation forcing them to do so. 'Bogofs' are one of the main reasons why a third of all food is wasted, according to a report on food security and sustainability.

According to Wrap, the government's waste watchdog, households throw away 4.1 million tonnes of food each year that could have been eaten if it was managed better. Food waste costs the average household £420 a year, and the average person throws away more than their own weight in food annually.

Benn is also seeking to relax restrictions on GM food, by permitting more trials of GM crops in Britain.