UK Food Industry signs up to WRAP’s 'world-first' Roadmap to halve food waste

Sep 26, 2018 editor

Some of the UK's leading supermarkets, hospitality firms and food and drink producers have committed to an initiative from the Charity Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to halve food waste by measuring and acting on wastage levels across a "farm-to-fork" approach.

A total of 89 organisations have committed to reducing the UK’s annual £20bn food waste costs, through WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The initiative includes the entire food supply chain, with producers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and food service companies announced as early adopters of the cause.

UK supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer (M&S), Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose will use a Target-Measure-Act approach to identify ways of reducing surplus unsold food. Further down the supply chain, food and drink manufacturers including Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), Unilever, Kraft Heinz UK, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Nestle and Procter & Gamble will use a similar. Hospitality and food service businesses, BaxterStorey, Compass Group, ISS UK, OCS Group, Nandos, Pizza Hut and Sodexo are supporting the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The need for food industry giants to be seen to be doing something about the problem, is another reason to join the movement. Sustainability and environmental concerns are now at the forefront of consumerism.

WRAP’s chief executive Marcus Gover stated, “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.”

Many of the retailers signed up to the Roadmap are part of the Champions 12.3 initiative. Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society dedicated to inspiring, mobilizing and accelerating progress toward achieving the United Nation’s 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which seek to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. SDG Target 12.3 calls halving global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030.

By September 2019, the aim is to have fifty per cent of the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste. With all 250 companies doing so by 2026. Research from the group suggests that for every £1 spent on tackling food waste, firms could save £4.50 so incentives are not only environmental, but financial.

The Roadmap is published with a wide range of new resources to enable businesses to act consistently, and support work already underway by many companies by setting out a guidelines the whole industry can follow, including detailed ways that businesses can engage with consumers to help reduce the estimated 10 million tonnes of food waste generated annually.

WRAP is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Zero Waste Scotland, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved administrations and the EU. The charity works on a number of campaigns aimed at reducing waste and promoting sustainable business practice. The amount of food wasted globally each year is set to rise by a third by 2030 without "urgent and aggressive" action from nations and corporates, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).