London, UK — The Central as well as local governments, third sector and retailers should even more influence and support consumer behaviours to tackle food waste in the UK. This is the key message of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA), published in a new report on „Food security: demand, consumption and waste“. It is of concern that the nation continues to waste food on a significant scale, says the paper. And: „Efforts need to apply across food supply chains from farm to fork to cut waste and generate economic, social and environmental benefits.“
According to WRAP, 15 million tonnes of food are wasted each year, of which nine million tonnes is avoidable. Food wastage can occur at any stage of the food chain from farm to fork. Half the UK’s food waste (around seven million tonnes) occurs in the home, with the average UK household throwing away the equivalent of six meals every week at a cost of £250 – £400 a year. In total, £12.5 billion of food bought by consumers is wasted each year. Some 22 per cent of the edible fresh produce bought by householders is not eaten. Retail and distribution operations produce only 3 per cent of the UK’s food waste (0.4 million tonnes annually) with manufacturing generating some 27 per cent (4 million tonnes a year).
Programmes such as those run by WRAP have driven reductions of 21 per cent in avoidable household food waste since 2007. However, there is a need to decrease levels further, not least to meet EU targets of reducing food waste by 30 per cent by 2025 (compared to 2007).
Since the inquiry finished taking evidence, the EU Commission has published a work programme for 2015 under which the circular economy proposals which covered food waste have been withdrawn, pending revised proposals to be produced in 2015.
The full report can be downloaded from publications.parliament.uk.
Source: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA)