The food industry is on a more socially conscious path when it comes to its leftovers, according to research released today by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). In the past two years, the amount of food waste redistributed by retailers, manufacturers and the hospitality industry increased by 50% to just over 43,000 tonnes.
The figures were revealed at the same time as the announcement that eight charities and not-for-profit groups are to receive grants from the government’s £500,000 Food Waste Reduction Fund. The recipients include FareShare, which works with Asda to donate meals.
“It’s great to see such a rapid rise in redistribution and the growing number of partnerships between the supply chain and charities,” said WRAP’s director, Peter Maddox. “This stops good food going to waste and helps feed people.
“But we know there’s much more to do. Our research shows food redistributed, from manufacturers and retailers, could increase further, by more than 200,000 tonnes.
“There’s potential too to source greater amounts of surplus food from other parts of the supply chain like primary production, and the hospitality and food service sector.”
Here, we’ve highlighted some of the key stats from the WRAP report.
- The amount of redistributed food increased 14,500 tonnes between 2015 and 2017 – the equivalent of an additional 34m meals per year.
- WRAP estimates that 2017 saw a grand total of 102m meals (valued at £130m) shifted.
- Manufacturers were the overall star performers, redistributing over 23,000 tonnes to commercial and charitable institutions, an increase of 54% over two years.
- By comparison, the total figure for retail was almost 17,500 tonnes while hospitality and food service (HaFS) managed a mere 1,125.
- However, retailers were more impressive in terms of charitable donations, giving away 11,931 tonnes – a rise of 114% – as opposed to the 7,745 tonnes by manufactures and 491 tonnes by HaFS.
- Around 260,000 tonnes of waste was generated by retail in 2015 – a drop in the ocean compared to manufacturing’s 1.85m tonnes. WRAP believes about half of this is avoidable.