Michael Gove has appointed a new food waste “champion” tasked with radically cutting Britain’s food waste.
Philanthropist Ben Elliot, the co-founder of lifestyle group Quintessentially, will take up the unpaid, voluntary role as Food Surplus and Waste Champion for 2019, to help steer the UK towards less wasteful food chain.
With Britain currently throwing away 10.2 million tonnes of food a year, Elliot, who is nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, will encourage businesses and groups across the food sector to work together to generate ideas and solutions on food surplus.
Following the appointment, Defra minister Gove said: “Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal. We must end it. That’s why I am delighted Ben Elliot is taking up this position and know he will bring the enthusiasm and skills this important role needs.
“His first task will be to help ensure our £15m food waste fund redistributes surplus food that would otherwise be wasted to those most in need.”
Elliot will work with anti-waste campaigners Wrap, and Defra to coordinate the fund’s expenditure, supporting the roll-out of new projects. The role will report to Defra ministers responsible for food waste.
Gove’s announcement follows from Defra’s recently published Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out government plans to start setting mandatory targets for food waste prevention, as well as mandatory annual reporting on companies’ waste data.
Elliot said: “Whilst families all over the country struggle to put food on the table and children still go to school each day with empty stomachs, there continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable.”
Elliot added his experience as chair on the food distribution charity the Felix Project, which as diverted £1billion of food waste to those in need, will help in his new role.
"As a nation, we need to stop this excessive waste and ensure that surplus food finds its way to people in our society who need it most, and not let it get thrown away and go to landfill. The progress that we have made at the Felix Project has had a positive impact on thousands of people’s lives in London and I am extremely grateful to all of those involved in the food sector that have been so supportive.
“My new appointment will allow me to work with Defra and food retailers all over the country to help build out a nationwide strategy that will ensure surplus food is not wasted at the expense of those in our society that truly need it.”