Groundbreaking research identifies multi-billion pound savings for the grocery sector

7th October 2013

New innovative research launched today by WRAP, identifies how much food, drink and packaging waste arises in the grocery retail supply chain. It also looks at where in the sector it arises, what the waste is, and how it is managed.

It is estimated that food and packaging waste in this area has a value of £6.9 billion. This represents some 7% of the value of food and drink sales to households, money which could be used to increase exports or investment to help individual businesses and the economy to grow. By focusing on the opportunities for improving waste prevention, businesses can add the savings benefit straight to their bottom line.


WRAP estimates that there is 6.5 Mt of waste arising in the grocery retail supply chain.  From this figure, 3.9 Mt arises from food and drink manufacturers, and the majority of this is food. Retailer’s main waste comes from packaging which, in total, accounts for around 1.2 Mt. The new data examines waste across the supply chain and shows how waste is managed, where food is being redistributed to and where it is used as an ingredient in animal feed.  The report also assesses other materials arising from the production of food.


The report demonstrates a significant opportunity to reduce food, drink and packaging waste. It supports the need for businesses to work to reduce their own waste, but also to work collaboratively across the supply chain to unlock waste prevention solutions.  It’s through driving waste prevention that the greatest financial and environmental benefits can be achieved.


A supply chain target was introduced into the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2; WRAP’s voluntary agreement in 2010.  Whilst not all of the waste identified is preventable, the agreement is a mechanism that businesses can use to take action to reduce manufacturing and retail waste.  A final report on the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 agreement that shows the progress with the supply chain target will be published in the autumn. The law on food waste is also changing for all businesses in Scotland from January 2014.

 

Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP said: “This new research from WRAP can help deliver significant benefits for businesses and the environment. Armed with this knowledge, businesses, and the supply chain as a whole, can more readily identify where problems are arising, enabling them to find the solutions to reduce their waste and make large financial and environmental savings.

 

From January 2014 new regulations in Scotland will require food businesses to segregate food waste for separate collection and other key recyclable materials. www.resourceefficientscotland.regulations
2. An infographic is available for the media to illustrate the data flows and the full report can be found here http://www.wrap.org.uk/node/16081
3. For more information on the Courtauld Commitment http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/information-sheet-courtauld-commitment
4. The average estimated value of food waste per tonne is now a staggering £950 tonnes
3. WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. Working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.
4. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
6. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk