Supply Chain

UK Food Waste Redistribution Increases By 50%: WRAP

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UK Food Waste Redistribution Increases By 50%: WRAP

UK-based sustainability campaign group WRAP has released a report that reveals that food waste redistribution from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses increased by 50% in just two years.

The total value of the food redistributed in 2017 was almost £130 million, following a £40 million increase from 2015 to 2017.

"I am very pleased to see the increase in redistribution from 2015 to 2017, and that the manufacturing sector, in particular, is making a significant contribution to the overall achievement," commented Helen Munday, chief scientific officer, Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

"Tackling food waste wherever it occurs across supply chains is a key priority for FDF members, starting with the prevention of waste and surpluses from occurring in the first place, in accordance with the food waste hierarchy. Where surpluses cannot be avoided, we encourage members to redirect food to feed people as a first consideration."

Back Tracking

As part of the announcement, WRAP amended the 2015 baseline for UK food waste redistribution, after it found that it overestimated the redistribution of food waste in 2015.


Two years ago WRAP estimated that 47,000 tonnes of waste was redistributed by the industry that year, however, it has recently recalculated these figures to show that only 28,500 tonnes has been redistributed - less than half of the original estimate.

The group said that this is due to ‘both improvements to the research methodology, and to more robust and granular data from redistribution organisations’.

However, WRAP said that its research shows great potential for the UK's food waste redistribution system. It says that a further 200,000 tonnes from retail and manufacturing, and additional surplus from hospitality and food service, primary production and others could be redistributed effectively if the UK ups its game.

Plenty Of Potential

"It’s great to see such a rapid rise in redistribution and the growing number of partnerships between the supply chain and charities," said Peter Maddox, director of WRAP. "This stops good food going to waste, and helps feed people. But we know there’s much more to do. Our research shows food redistributed, from manufacturers and retailers, could increase further, by more than 200,000 tonnes."


"There’s potential too to source greater amounts of surplus food from other parts of the supply chain like primary production, and the hospitality and food service sector. Our Courtauld 2025 Redistribution Working Group is helping to forge new links and supports both businesses and redistribution organisations in ensuring surplus food feeds people, first. Businesses signatories have committed to doubling the amount they redistribute by 2020. Seeing these numbers, I am confident they will hit that target."

According to WRAP, the manufacturing sector was the largest single source of redistributed food last year, followed by retail, which has seen its surplus supply more than double, with an increase of 114%.

Government Grant

Coinciding with the release of the report, WRAP also announced that eight charities and non-profit groups will receive grants from the UK government’s £500,000 Food Waste Reduction Fund, which is administered by the UK sustainability group.

The grants provide ‘essential resources needed to expand their important work’. Individual grants will range from £40,000 to £75,000, which the group says will help the eight lucky winners to redistribute an additional 2,500 tonnes of food annually.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O'Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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