Nov 5, 2018 | Retail
The government today (October 2) said it will set up a pilot scheme to reduce food waste, specifically addressing surplus food from retail and manufacturing.
The scheme, which will be supported by £15m of additional funding, will be developed over the coming months in collaboration with businesses and charities.
Food waste in the UK totals 10.2 million tonnes per year, of which 1.8 million tonnes comes from food manufacture, 1 million from the hospitality sector, and 260,000 from retail, with the remainder from households.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said: “Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. It harms our environment, it’s bad for business – and it’s morally indefensible.
“Every year, around 100,000 tonnes of readily available and perfectly edible food is never eaten. This has got to change.”
Defra is commissioning work to improve the evidence base around food waste, including understanding why more surplus food is not being redistributed. This work will inform the design of the scheme, ensuring it drives down food waste in the most effective possible way.
Dr David Moon, head of business collaboration at charity Wrap, added: “Today’s announcement is a great boost for the many support networks around the country working hard to ensure good food feeds people, and is not wasted.
“Between 2015 and 2017 surplus food redistributed from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses increased by 50%, with nearly £130m worth of food saved from waste.
“And there is the potential to increase this significantly, and to expand the range and type of foods with more fresh produce. Not only will this benefit people, it will also help reduce the huge environmental impact of food waste.”
The government said the scheme will launch in 2019 or 2020.