UK supermarkets sign government pledge to help halve food waste

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More than 100 of the biggest players in food, including all of the UK’s major supermarkets, have signed a pledge to take ground-breaking action to drive down food waste following a call to action from the government.

Big-hitters from the world of food and sustainability including Aldi, Asda, Caffé Nero, Co-op, Costa, FDF, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Starbucks, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, Nestlé, Ocado, UKHospitality, Unilever, World Wildlife Fund for Nature and Waitrose have signed a pledge committing to help halve food waste by 2030 and raise public awareness of the issue through a week of action.

Currently in the UK an estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted annually after leaving the farm gate, worth around £20 billion. It is estimated that UK householders spend £15 billion every year on food that could have been eaten but ends up being thrown away, equating to £500 a year for the average household.

Today’s announcement comes after the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot urged organisations to ‘Step up to the Plate’ at a landmark symposium last month. The event brought together around 300 key players from various parts of the food industry for a day of targeted discussion and action.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

I am delighted to see so many UK food businesses commit to game-changing action to cut food waste, and I hope that others follow suit.

The UK is showing real leadership in this area, but each year millions of tonnes of food is wasted.

I want to thank our Food Surplus and Waste Champion for inspiring business to step up to the plate. Together we will end the environmental and economic scandal that is food waste.

Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot said:

We are pleased to see these retailers committing to change. To those retailers yet to sign the pledge – why not? You have a responsibility to step up and do your bit.

We will be highlighting those who participate and those who do not. The food waste crisis can only be solved by collective action.

Stefano Agostini, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé UK & Ireland, said:

Food waste is a critical issue, from an environmental and social perspective and one where we all have a role to play.

It is crucially important that we work together to help reduce food waste across our own operations, our supply chains and also support consumers to reduce food waste in the home.

Judith Batchelar OBE, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said:

Food waste is one of the biggest challenges currently facing today’s society and an intrinsic part of our combined response to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. At Sainsbury’s it continues to be an urgent and important priority for us to tackle.

By working collaboratively with others, from suppliers through to fellow retailers, we can work to eliminate surplus waste within every part of the supply chain process and achieve the impact that we all want to see.

Dave Lewis, Chair of Champions 12.3 and Group CEO Tesco, said:

Today’s announcement that over 100 UK food companies have signed up to the Step up to the Plate pledge is welcome news. The next step is for all signatories to publicly report their food waste data in line with Champions 12.3 best practice.

This will be crucial for identifying hotspots that require collective action; holding individual companies to account for the commitments they have made and for the UK delivering on Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

Earlier this year the government launched a £15 million game-changing scheme to tackle food waste, building on its landmark Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out how the government will introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has invited organisations to apply for the second round of more than £6 million funding under the government’s game-changing scheme to slash food waste. We would like to see larger food businesses report their food waste transparently on an annual basis in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. We will consult later this year on mandatory reporting for larger businesses.

The government is committed to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to help halve food waste by 2030, report on progress and prioritise action.

Further information

  • 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.
  • Wrap estimate that there is the potential to redistribute a further 190,000 tonnes of surplus food from the retail and food manufacturing sectors. Some of the surplus is difficult to make use of, costly in that it would need to be reworked or repackaged, and some surplus would not be edible. It is estimated that around 100,000 tonnes is both accessible and edible with the remaining being more difficult to redistribute.
  • Anyone can sign up to the ‘Step up to the Plate pledge’ through sending a signed copy of the pledge to http://www.wrap.org.uk/stepuptotheplate.

The pledge asks attendees to reduce food waste by:

  • setting an ambitious target to help halve food waste by 2030 in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, report on progress and prioritise action. As a food business, adopting the WRAP and IGD Food Waste Reduction Roadmap to have half of all 250 of the UK’s largest food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2019.
  • embracing a week of action in November 2019 to highlight the changes we can all make.
  • using their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation
  • changing their habits as an individual to be Food Value Champion at work and at home, buying only what they need and eating what they buy.

The list of organisations that have signed the ‘Step up to the Plate’ pledge at the date of publication of this press notice are:

  • Aberdeen Ltd.
  • Aldi
  • Alliance for Sustainability and Leadership in Education
  • Allied Bakeries
  • Apetito
  • Approved Food
  • Approved Food Limited
  • Asda
  • Bakkavor Group
  • Barfoots
  • Baxter Storey
  • Berry Gardens
  • Bidfood
  • Boots
  • Bread and Butter Thing
  • Bread and Honey
  • British Frozen Food Federation
  • Café Nero
  • Central England Coop
  • ChicP
  • Chilled Food Association
  • Company Shop
  • Compass Group
  • Cooke Genie
  • Costa
  • Cranswick
  • Dale Farm
  • Daylesford Organic
  • Denhay Farms LTD
  • Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Direct Produce Supplies Ltd.
  • Earth Changers
  • East End Foods
  • Eden Project
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Environment Agency
  • Felix Project
  • Flawsome
  • Food and Drink Federation
  • Food Bytes
  • Foodchain Technologies Limited
  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Fresh Produce Consortium
  • Gather and Gather
  • Gen Mills
  • General Mills
  • Greencore
  • G’s Fresh Limited
  • Harper Adams University
  • Heckfield Place
  • Hilton Food Group
  • His Church
  • Hummingbird Technologies
  • Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment
  • Institute of Grocery Distribution
  • Intercontinemtal Hotels Group
  • It’s Fresh
  • Karma
  • Karmalicious LTD
  • KP Snacks
  • Lidl
  • London Restaurant Festival
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons
  • National Farmers Union
  • Neighbourly
  • Nestlé
  • Nibsetc
  • Ocado
  • Old Oak Primary School
  • Olio
  • Plan Zheroes
  • Plot Kitchen
  • Rubies In The Rubble
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Samworth Brothers
  • Selfridges
  • Smart Store Cooking
  • Starbucks
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Tesco
  • The Packaging Federation
  • The Real Junk Food Project
  • Toast Ale
  • Too Good To Go
  • UK Hospitality
  • Unilever UK and Ireland
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Waitrose
  • Waste Food Solutions
  • Wasteless
  • Winnow
  • World Resources International
  • World Wide Fund for Nature
  • WRAP
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