A Waitrose worker has been sacked for “theft” after he ate a doughnut during his shift that was destined for the bin. David Graham has spoken out after he was fired for eating a doughnut that was about to go to waste. The Waitrose worker said he “needed a sugar hit” during his night shift at the supermarket giant’s store in Poole, Dorset. He decided to snack on a doughnut that he knew was going to be binned.
However, Waitrose quickly found out and launched an investigation into the issue.
He was found to have violated store policy by eating the food waste doughnuts and was sacked for theft.
The 28-year-old, who had been working at Waitrose since 2017, was tasked with stacking shelves and picking orders.
Mr Graham became increasingly “frustrated” by the amount of food that went to waste during his nightshifts.
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According to Mr Graham, Waitrose changed its food waste policy late last year.
Previously, the company’s policy had been that food waste would be given to charity or go to the staff at the end of the night.
However, he said that since December, Waitrose had imposed a new national rule that any waste still on the shelves at 9pm must be binned.
Mr Graham said his decision to snack on the food waste doughnuts was partly a protest after he accused the store manager of not “allowing compromise or conversation” on the abrupt policy change.
The former Waitrose employee complained: “Throughout my time at the store, I have been disheartened by the level of food waste that was generated that wasn’t offered to charity or the employees.
“My first memory of working at the store was seeing four large chickens on a Saturday night going down to the bins.
“A simpler perk prior to the policy change was the option to consume any food waste found in the bakery self-service areas such as croissants and jam doughnuts.
“Seeing the bakery employee putting them in the bin at 2am in the morning when a sugar hit would be helpful was very frustrating to see.”
He added: “Being hungry and frustrated with what Waitrose was telling the public versus what was actually happening, I decided the only way to begin a conversation was to protest by continuing to eat the food waste doughnuts.
“I expected to be caught, I expected a conversation to start on how to reinstate the perk and reduce the other food waste, and I even considered they may take it to a final warning, but I never expected what followed by an employee-owned company.
“Ultimately they have sacked a long-serving employee over a doughnut. I’m disappointed by the actions of the Parkstone store and I’m sure their customers will also be saddened to hear this.”
It is estimated that supermarket food waste amounts to a total of £230million each year.
A Waitrose spokeswoman said there are “good reasons it has strict rules regarding the consumption of food by partners”.
She said: “Like most major food businesses, we have clear rules over the consumption of food by employees.
“It’s our aim that no edible food is wasted and when products are near the end of their shelf life, we donate whatever we can to local charities with any suitable food remaining being shared fairly between our partners.”