The end of multi-buy offers in supermarkets could be on the way as part of a new initiative aimed at reducing food waste, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Ireland generates two tonnes of wasted food every minute, but some of the country's main retailers have now agreed to take part in a new National Forum on Food Waste.
Environment Minister Denis Naughten wants them to sign up to measures that will result in less food being dumped.
Around 40pc of wastage comes from food production, while 60pc comes from the household and commercial sector.
A new charter to be agreed by retailers is likely to be based on a similar project in Denmark, which has more initiatives against food waste in Europe than any other state.
It includes a ban on 'quantity discounts' such as 'buy two, get the third free'. Instead supermarkets offer discounts on single items.
Representatives from Tesco, Spar, Aldi, Lidl and Musgrave, which oversees SuperValu and Centra, have agreed to take part in a new 'action group' under the stewardship of former Superquinn deputy chairman Eamonn Quinn.
"It is a huge conundrum of our time that deprivation exists alongside wasteful practices in society and what we do about it. Older generations laid much store by the adage 'waste not, want not'," Mr Naughten told the Irish Independent.
"They understood the seasonal and cyclical nature of abundance and need. In a modern society, where everything is available all year round and at every price point, new insight is required as to how we can live within the capacity of our planet in terms of the materials we consume and the waste we must manage.
"It is easy to preach to people that our way of life is unsustainable. It is harder to convince them that it is possible to continue to live well but within the limits of our environment."
The Forum, which holds its first meeting today, has 12 months to come up with recommendations that will focus primarily on what actions retailers can take - but is also likely to result in an awareness campaign targeting households.
In Denmark this included a campaign which showed that every second Dane had a UFO, 'unidentified frozen object', in their freezer.
Supermarkets will also be encouraged to donate food that has reached its sell-by date to volunteers who prepare free meals for the homeless and underprivileged.
There will be no more Irish 'free-range' eggs after St Patrick's Day following Department of Agriculture measures to combat bird flu.
The department has introduced regulations requiring flock keepers to confine their poultry in a secure building that wild birds or other animals do not have access to.
Free-range eggs will no longer be available in shops as under EU regulations eggs and poultry meat can be marketed as 'free-range' for the duration of the restriction but not for more than 12 weeks.
In Ireland's case, the 12-week period expires on March 17.