Food waste - new UK initiative to reduce it is launched today

Food waste - new UK initiative to reduce it is launched today

Food heavyweight Nestlé and UK 'big four' retailers Tesco and Sainsbury's are amongst the signatories to a new pledge to reduce food waste.

The UK initiative's major aim is to halve food waste by 2030.
 
The 'Step up to the Plate' pledge will be officially launched at a symposium at London's Victoria and Albert Museum today (13 May).

Michael Gove, the UK's environment secretary, will be in attendance. He is expected to say: "Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious food is thrown away. This is an environmental, economic and moral scandal, and I am determined to tackle it. I urge businesses to join me in signing the pledge to deliver real change to stop good food going to waste."

The food waste symposium will bring together big players from the worlds of food, retail and hospitality, as well as chefs and social media influencers, to promote awareness of food waste and help drive it down from all sources.

The event is being hosted by the UK government's food surplus and waste 'champion' Ben Elliot.

Attendees are expected to sign up to a number of commitments on measuring and reducing their own food waste and inspiring others to follow their lead.

Elliot is expected to say: "Climate change is no longer a buzzword - we must all stand up and be counted. We squander ten million tonnes of food and drink every year.

"Businesses throw away food worth an estimated GBP5bn (US$6.51bn) and GBP15bn is wasted from our homes (on average around GBP500 a year), the emissions this creates is the equivalent of every third car on the road. We simply must put an end to this."

The pledge asks attendees to reduce food waste by setting a target to halve food waste by 2030 in line with UN sustainable development goals.

They will also be asked to adopt 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.

According to UK government figures, around 55,000 tonnes of surplus food is redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers every year. 

It is estimated a further 100,000 tonnes of food - equating to 250m meals a year - is edible and readily available but goes uneaten. 

Nestlé said it has become one of the first manufacturers in the UK to publish data about its food waste as part of the aforementioned UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

The company has reduced its food waste levels by 8.2% since 2016 by adopting the WRAP and IGD developed 'Target, Measure and Act' (TMA) approach as well as the UK Measurements and Reporting Guidelines.

At today's event, Stefano Agostini, CEO for Nestlé UK & Ireland, will say: "I am very proud that Nestlé is one of the first to commit to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. Only by working together can we address the issue of food waste at the pace and scale required.

"There is always more that can be done and I would actively encourage all businesses to sign up and take action to reduce food waste."