We welcome today’s report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers as it makes a useful contribution to the debate about food waste, both here in the UK and globally.
WRAP has carried out a considerable amount of research into this area already, and through Love Food Hate Waste and other initiatives, has helped households across the UK reduce food waste from 8.3m tonnes a year to 7.2m tonnes.
Of this, 4.4 million tonnes is avoidable food waste. This avoidable food waste has a value of £12 billion per year, and is costing the average family £480 every year.
There is a range of reasons why we waste food. We often cook, prepare and serve too much, or allow food to go off. Lack of planning, misunderstanding date labels, getting portion sizes wrong and lack of knowledge of how to store food to keep it fresher for longer, and how to use leftovers all contribute to food waste.
The good news is that since 2006/7, millions of people are throwing away less food and saving money for their households. However, there’s still much to do – we’re still wasting more than 7m tonnes a year - and people could be saving money today by taking steps to make the best use of the food they buy.
WRAP is working closely with food and drink retailers and brands to reduce waste in the supply chain through the Courtauld Commitment, and in October last year, we announced news of significant progress – signatories had already achieved an 8.8% reduction in the amount of food and packaging waste against a target of 5%.
At the same time, we’re also working with the hospitality sector to help it reduce food waste, through the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. More than 100 organisation have already signed up to this agreement, which aims to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% and increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted, to 70% by 2015.