Three food industry trade federations are launching a programme to prevent millions of pounds worth of food needlessly going to waste.
The British Frozen Food, Wholesale Distributors' and Provision Trade Federations have launched an online platform to collate data on stock such as cheese, yogurt, cooked meats, fruit juices and other short shelf-life products that are rapidly approaching the end of their shelf-life.
In the first few hours of the platform going live, more than £2m worth of food was registered.
Where possible, the surplus stock will be sold to retailers, manufacturers or companies such as Company Shop, or given away to charity operations such as FareShare.
Richard Harrow, chief executive of the BFFF, said: "Since the closure of the hospitality sector, the supply chain into the out of home market is overstocked with chilled products that are fast approaching the end of their shelf life.
"Our federations urgently need to understand the scale of the problem we are facing so that we and other trade bodies can find ways to help the industry deal with this stock and mitigate a potentially shocking amount of food going to waste."
On the platform, wholesalers can list details of the top 10 chilled and frozen lines they have overstocks on, plus the total value of stock under threat.
Harrow added: "All three federations are making strong representations to government to ensure that if our industry takes this action, there will be some form of recompense for the inevitable financial losses that will occur.
"We appreciate these are extremely difficult and busy times for everyone. But please do take a few moments to upload your data to allow us to understand the scale of the issue."
He added: "We are also working on options to provide guidance on freezing some chilled lines to provide additional life."
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