Environment Secretary Michael Gove has urged supermarkets to commit to halving food waste by 2030 or risk facing Government fines. 

Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are among the 300 food companies which have teamed up with the Government on the initiative.

Speaking at the Step Up to the Plate event in London yesterday, Gove said the level of food waste in the UK is an “environmental, economic and moral scandal”.

The UK wastes 10.2 million tonnes of food a year, costing around £15bn or the equivalent of £500 per household, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The new Government-led initiative will see those companies that sign the pledge be able to apply for funding from a £6m scheme which will aid in sustainability measures to cut back on food waste, including redistributing unsold products through food banks and charities.

Gove said: “There are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of edible food which could be distributed to those in need which is not being distributed.

“We have announced £5m in additional money in order to ensure we can help companies who want to ensure the very poorest in our society get that food.

“That is an incentive, but if necessary, in the future, then perhaps penalties might be required as well.”

Celebrity chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Ken Hom joined Gove at the event to show their support for the scheme.