Byline: Sean Poulter Consumer Affairs Editor
SUPERMARKETS and sandwich chains could soon share surplus food with families struggling in the economic downturn.
Under a proposal backed by the Government, retailers would log details of products approaching the end of their shelf-life on a database.
Charities, who are increasingly working with families who cannot afford to feed themselves, would use the information to arrange pick-ups of food and other unsold products set aside during the week by stores.
Charities would then put together parcels or cook meals using the surplus food and distribute it to the needy.
Britain has seen an explosion in demand for food banks and food parcels amid the biggest squeeze on living standards in 60 years. The Government is putting pressure on food giants to back the scheme, which is designed to both cut food waste and help those in need.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is bringing together supermarkets, retail industry leaders and food charities at a summit in London today to ensure food goes into kitchens rather than landfill.
She said: 'Preventing food waste protects the environment, helps communities and makes good business sense.
'Charities and retailers are already working together to make great use of surplus food and I'm hosting the today to look at new ways to make the system work even better.' The nation's biggest stores, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, the Co-op, M&S and Boots, will take part. Charities FareShare and FoodCycle, which were set up to tackle food poverty, will also be present.…