food waste

How are we doing on food waste?

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign launched in 2007, a government-backed project to reduce the amount of food we throw away. Ten years on from that, what has been achieved?

The latest bulletin from WRAP, the agency behind Love Food Hate Waste, found that 7.3 million tonnes of food was discarded in 2015, worth £13 billion.

That sounds like a huge amount of food and money – and it is – but it’s a million tonnes less than in 2007. Household food waste has improved by 12%, retail food waste by 15%, manufacturers 10%, and the hospitality sector is wasting 11% less. So that’s progress all round.

However, there is some bad news too. There’s something rotten at the back of  that 12% improvement in household waste. Unfortunately, the improvements all seem to be in the first few years of the campaign, with waste creeping up by 4% from 2012 to 2015. Were those initial gains mainly to do with the recession and people tightening their belts, rather than changing their behaviour? Or does the stalling improvement have anything to do with WRAP’s funding being cut by two thirds during that time, as part of the government’s budget cuts? WRAP suggest that falling food prices and rising incomes after 2014 lowered the incentives to save food.

One thing we can say for sure is that there’s still a big problem to tackle, and the biggest source of food waste is still households.

If you want to do something about it today, there’s a pledge you can sign at Tearfund, there’s always more going on at Love Food Hate Waste, and for the global perspective see Think Eat Save.

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