September 2010


Last week, Wiseman Dairies, who control one third of the milk market in the UK announced a serious profits warning; their bottom line will be reduced by £7 million less this year and £16 million next. The shareprice fell to 330p (16/09/10) from a high of 536p in July. This is a 20 per cent fall and, though competitors Dairy Crest differ on the reasons for such competitive trading conditions it is likely that such an impact is due to the intensification of a price war between the major multiples – supermarkets and convenience stores. The three leading suppliers in the UK milk market have a 90 per cent market share and yet, they have absolutely no control over the price and very little control over short term retail tactics that are destroying shareholder and stakeholder value alike.

It may seem perverse to link this plunge in share price to food and drink waste but, here goes.

A few weeks ago, one of the UK’s celebrity chefs held a Charity Dinner for VIPs. On the menu, dishes were made exclusively out of throw away food. You see, Britain is a land of leftovers. Over eight million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away and wasted each year and five million tonnes of that could have been avoided. According to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs we throw away 440,000 tonnes of meat and fish; 400,000 tonnes of potatoes; 560,000 tonnes of dairy products; 390,000 tonnes of cereal products, 610,000 tonnes of fruit; 630,000 tonnes of bread and 730,000 tonnes of vegetables; 250,000 tonnes of desserts, cakes and sweets and 140,000 tonnes of alcohol – only 6 per cent of the total. In terms of retailers, Tristram Stuart’s important book Waste estimates that Sainsbury’s send an estimated 60,000 tonnes and Asda 75,000 tonnes to landfill every year. According to UN figures the food and drink wasted in the UK in 2009 could have fed 35 million flood victims in Pakistan for a year. Estimates vary between £400 to £700 per family per year.

From field to ... landfill

Why do we waste so much? T L sees these price wars as part of the problem. Here’s why.  (more…)

As with Russia and soon on Iraq, the T L Blog is moving to feature a series of Country Profiles followed by an Interview with someone on the ground. Here, we build on the recent Post on Pakistan with Mike Whiting who is working on the Humanitarian effort in Pakistan.

Mike Whiting is a long-standing member of CIPS and is the Chairman of the CILT UK Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Professionals (HELP) Forum.  He has taken part in the humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina 2005 in the USA in the Yogyakarta Earthquake in Indonesia in 2006, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, the Haiti Earthquake in 2010 when he worked with USAF. A long-standing member of RedR UK and a member of the Cardiff and Cranfield Humanitarian Logistics Initiative and the Humanitarian Logistics Association; he has had chapters published in two books and has written numerous papers on aspect of humanitarian logistics.

Rob Bell (RJB) Question 1. Mike, what has been your role in the Pakistan catastrophe? (more…)