Food waste measurement principles and resources guide

30th January 2018

Measurement is critical to reducing the amount of food that goes to waste across the supply chain, delivering savings to business and improving sector productivity. 

Key points
Industry leaders have agreed three key principles of food waste measurement, informed by work IGD and WRAP undertook with businesses.
Adopting these will enable individual companies and the industry, to demonstrate a consistent and effective approach to how food waste is measured and managed.
These are supported by a guide which directs users to the most relevant resources to enable the principles to be widely implemented.


Through work with key international organisations (including the WRI, Champions Group, UN, FAO) there is now high-level clarity on what to measure and how to report on it. In 2017, IGD and WRAP worked with a range of business representatives to develop a set of principles for how to measure food that goes to waste. 

These principles are supported by a resources guide which aims to help answer key questions such as:

  • Why should I measure food waste (i.e. what’s the business case)? 
  • What should I measure? 
  • How should I do this?
  • How can I take action to reduce food waste?

The resources can be accessed in two ways:

  1. A downloadable pdf which provides relevant context and helpful diagrams in addition to directing the user to relevant resources. Download the full resources guide
  2. A shorter on-line version which uses a series of questions to direct users to the most relevant resources, which you can access below. 


The principles 

The principles of food waste measurement have been developed and agreed with the  IGD ‘task and finish’ group, and align with the international standard for food waste reporting published in 2016 (the Food Loss and Waste Standard, FLWS) and new guidance developed by the Champions 12.3 Group. 

Industry leaders have agreed there are three principles of food waste measurement:

  1. Food waste measurement and reduction should focus on farm to fork in pursuit of SDG Target 12.3.
  2. The framework of Target, Measure, Act represents the best way to make progress on food waste measurement and prevention.
  3. Consistent definitions of food, food waste and inedible parts, must be adopted by every organisation which commits to measure and reduce food waste.

Adopting a common approach to measuring food waste, in line with the Food Loss & Waste Standard and Champions 12.3 ‘interpretation’ document, is essential to make progress.

Supporting these principles consistently across our industry will enable individual companies and industry as a whole to demonstrate congruence in how food waste is being measured and managed. 

Supporting these principles is our resources guide.

Download the full interactive pdf which provides relevant context and helpful diagrams, and signposts relevant resources. 

Or access the shorter step-by-step on-line version which will, through a series of questions, direct users to the most relevant resources. 

To begin click start below. 


Next steps 

WRAP and IGD will continue to collaborate in work aligned with Courtauld 2025, including through the development of more specific guidance and case studies. This is one of the ways that WRAP, IGD and food businesses are working to ensure that Courtauld 2025 makes a major contribution to the UK achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

For more information on how to measure your food waste please contact WRAP