Britain's biggest food and grocery businesses have pledged to start reporting their food waste figures by September 2019, targeting a 50 per cent reduction in just over a decade.
Fresh produce companies, alongside retailers, restaurant chains and big name brands make up the 89-strong list of businesses pledging to cut back on waste "from farm to fork" using new target and reporting guidelines called the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
Signatories will set their own waste reduction targets and report their progress to the government backed charity Wrap, with the target of cutting their waste in half by 2030. Wrap aims to get all 250 of Britain’s largest businesses on board by 2026.
Fresh produce companies were among the first to join, including Bakkavor, Albert Bartlett, Barfoots, Greenvale, Greenyard, G’s Fresh and Puffin Produce.
Marcus Gover, CEO of Wrap, said: “Together, WRAP and IGD have mobilised industry leaders to create a bold sector-wide Roadmap, showing clearly what UK businesses must do. This Roadmap is hugely ambitious, and I’m delighted that the UK is the first country anywhere to set a nation-wide plan towards delivering its part in Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.
“There are many businesses working hard already, but many more need to focus on food waste. If the food sector follows this Roadmap it will significantly accelerate work to achieving both Courtauld 2025, and SDG12.3 targets. And I urge other companies to adopt the principles laid out in the Roadmap and join the rest of the sector on this historic journey.”
The UK’s annual food waste bill currently stands at an estimated £20 billion, equivalent to more than £300 per head.
Wrap will report on overall progress against the roadmap milestones in autumn 2019, 2022 and 2026 alongside reports on progress towards the Courtauld Commitment 2025 targets, which aims to cut national waste by 20 per cent by 2025.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “I congratulate the businesses stepping up to the plate in this ground-breaking commitment. The UK is a global leader in measuring food waste and supporting international food waste prevention projects. It is through government, consumers, and businesses working together that we will continue to tackle the unacceptable issue of unnecessary food waste.”
NFU president Minette Batters also backed the campaign, saying: “This is an incredibly important initiative by WRAP and IGD, and the NFU is very pleased to be able to support it. Farmers are the first step in the supply chain, producing the raw ingredients that make up the safe, traceable, affordable domestic food supply that helps to feed the nation. As food producers, farmers and growers have a clear role to play in this effort and it is encouraging to see many of our members already commit to cutting food waste in their business.