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WRAP | £1.9 billion of food wasted by grocery supply chain each year

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Around 1.1 million tonnes of food waste in the UK grocery supply chain, worth £1.9 billion, could be avoided every year, according to new research from the ACR+ member WRAP. Published on 17 May 2016, ‘Quantification of food surplus, waste and related materials in the grocery supply chain’, breaks down food waste figures into manufacturing sub-sectors such as meat and dairy, and found that 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK grocery supply chain every year, of which 56% is avoidable.

While the report does suggest that the food manufacturing and retail sectors are ‘highly efficient’, with a current surplus and waste level of less than 5%, a further 450,000 tonnes a year could ‘realistically’ be prevented by 2025. This would constitute a further reduction of 23% compared to currently reported food waste levels. The retail sector contributed 210,000 tonnes to WRAP’s overall food waste figure, while waste from manufacturing was responsible for around 1.7 million tonnes – which represents a 10% reduction in food waste generation from manufacturing since 2011.

Around 4.2% of UK food manufactured becomes food waste or surplus. The WRAP report breaks down the avoidable waste created by the manufacturing process to provide a picture of the different sub-sectors of the industry. The manufacture of dairy products produces the most avoidable food waste, with around 200,000 tonnes of waste created annually, 23% of the total avoidable food waste in the UK food manufacturing industry. Meat, fish and poultry contributed the second highest waste figures with 160,000 tonnes (18% of the total food waste), followed by ambient products (shelf-stable foods) at 130,000 tonnes (15%). The report also shows that in 2015 there was a surplus of 0.7 million tonnes of food and drink either being redistributed (47,000 tonnes – the equivalent to around 90 million meals) or diverted for the production of animal feed (660,000 tonnes). WRAP identifies that a further 270,000 tonnes of surplus may be suitable for redistribution. The study found that there was often a poor understanding across the sector about the sorts of surplus that were within scope for redistribution and how businesses with food surpluses can partner with redistribution organisations.

According to WRAP, collaborative action is needed to target priority areas identified in the report. For example, work between brands and retailers to tackle some of the in-store food waste, and retailers and manufacturers in addressing opportunities around forecasting.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Source: http://resource.co

ACR+ is also working in the area of food waste prevention via its involvement in the DWOF project, which aims to build a European alliance of youngsters against food waste and new models of sustainable development and consumption in the framework of the European Year for Development 2015.

For more information visit the project website and consult the ACR+ project factsheet