Marcus Gover Tells RWM “We’ll Win the Food Waste Fight Together”

13th September 2017

The theme of Marcus Gover’s keynote speech at today’s RWM Conference was a rallying call to join WRAP in the food waste fight, as he announced a new phase in the organisation’s consumer food waste prevention strategy.

The new phase will focus on catalysing change through multiple partner action; and bringing a more targeted approach to food waste prevention in the UK. WRAP’s CEO called for all local and national networks of like-minded people and organisations to join WRAP, and be part of joined up nation-wide action to help citizens cut food waste in the home.

Since first making the case for greater unity in the fight against food waste in January, Marcus outlined how WRAP has devoted time to re-evaluating, re-focusing and researching further the triggers of household food waste. These new insights have helped refresh a more targeted approach, and WRAP now wants to work with partners to concentrate on the most wasted food products, and engage with people who generate the most waste. Initial focus will be on two common behaviours in the home that can spark food waste: buying the right amount of food, and storing food to make it last longer.

Marcus explains, “We’ve had good success with Love Food Hate Waste and a broad-brush approach in the past, cutting household food waste by 12%, but it’s clear we need to concentrate on the finer details now. A new approach is required, and we’ve developed a more targeted phase in our strategy for specific behaviours and foods through more precise understanding of the subtleties at play.”

WRAP will first engage with the 18-34 age group for whom life changes such as moving away from the family home, taking their first job, becoming responsible for their own upkeep and starting families can be triggers for food waste. WRAP found that this age group wastes more food than others, largely due to busy lifestyles with ever changing arrangements – issues closely related to food waste.

WRAP has an ambitious catalytic approach to the problem of household food waste, and is also seeking to bring together the many disparate groups at work across the UK in more coordinated action. Gover describes the approach as “lighting the blue touch paper and igniting national action.”

The organisation wants to encourage debate, amplify discussions and prompt action by engaging with multiple players, making it easier for everyone to act together to achieve a significant change.

Marcus describes the next phase of WRAP’s strategy as a significant moment in the food waste fight, which will see WRAP convene a food summit in the Winter. This will bring together a wide range of partners to share insights, develop a unified vision of success and co-create solutions. “Household food waste reduction has plateaued and it’s clear to me that with many organisations and individuals working on isolated projects, we need to bring these separate strands together to form stronger ties, and joined-up action to stop food waste.”

WRAP is preparing a series of toolkits comprising consumer insights and communications materials, which partners can adapt for their own use - tailored to their own campaigns.

WRAP’s chief executive is equally keen to learn from others about their experiences. “We’re creating the space and providing the tools for a co-created plan of action and catalyse collaborative change on a massive scale. It’s a new way of working for WRAP, but one we believe is necessary to galvanise real change.”

In store action

WRAP is currently in conversations with retailers about in-store pilots to help shoppers waste less. The sustainability body is working with businesses on technical changes on product labelling and design, and will publish new industry guidance for food labelling later in the year - in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, and Defra.


Notes to editor

Food waste facts

  • By 2040, the UK population will be an estimated 74.3 million people (+10m increase) which will require 5 million tonnes more food to feed. Global demand for food will have increased by 50% by 2030.
  • 1.3 billion tonnes food waste is produced globally each year. 7.3 million tonnes are wasted by UK households.
  • Between 2007 and 2015 UK household food waste has reduced by around 12% (1 million tonnes). The reduction of food waste in residual waste has saved councils almost £70 million in 2015 alone.
  • Marcus Gover is a member of the Champions 12.3 coalition of nearly 40 leaders across government, business and civil society. This group is dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving Target 12.3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Target 12.3 calls on the world to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.
  • WRAP’s goal is to reduce household food waste by 20% per capita by 2025 from a 2015 baseline. That’s a reduction of 23kg per person with a UK saving of 1.1 million tonnes per annum in 2025.
  • WRAP is not for profit, working with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which we source and use resources sustainably. Our experts generate the evidence-based solutions we need to protect the environment, build stronger economies and support more sustainable societies. Our impact spans the entire lifecycle of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the products we buy, from production to consumption and beyond.
  • Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through:
  • a. re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products,
  • b. re-thinking how we use and consume products, and
  • c. re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.

Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677