Globally, it is estimated that around a third of all food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted during the various stages from farm to fork; resulting in huge economic, environmental and social impacts.

To help tackle this challenge, in September 2018, WRAP introduced the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap to support the UK food sector in delivering its commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 12.3; to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap

The roadmap focuses on embedding a culture of ‘Target, Measure, Act’ into the food and drink sector, with an aim of having the UK’s largest 250 food businesses implementing this by 2026. In practice, implementing Target, Measure, Act means:

  • Setting a food waste reduction target for your UK operations;
  • Measuring and reporting food surplus and waste according to the roadmap guidelines;
  • Taking action to reduce food waste in your own business; and
  • Through engagement and innovation, helping to reduce food waste from your suppliers and consumers.

The roadmap provides a consistent method for businesses to measure and report their food waste, with sector-specific guidance also available for the meat processing, dairy processing, fresh produce, retail, and hospitality and food service industries. Measuring food waste provides clarity on where waste occurs and allows for targeted action to reduce this. Reporting food waste provides transparency and accountability and therefore motivates further action across the sector.

One year on: The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Progress Report 2019

On the 24th September 2019, one year on from its launch, WRAP released “The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Progress Report 2019” outlining the progress made so far. Highlights of the first year include:

  • 156 food businesses committing to the roadmap;
  • 121 large businesses providing evidence of having implemented Target, Measure, Act practices;
  • More than 40 businesses publicly reporting food surplus and waste data in 2019; and
  • More than 150 businesses currently involved with engagement and training sessions.

This progress is encouraging, however, in order for the UK to achieve SDG 12.3, WRAP is calling on more businesses to implement Target, Measure, Act, and importantly, to publicly report their food surplus and waste data to help track progress and inform action. Tesco CEO Dave Lewis is also calling on more organisations to be transparent about their waste data, stating that “publishing food waste data is vital; without it, efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 – to halve food waste by 2030 – will be severely jeopardised. Without publication, we will never be able to judge whether real action is happening”.

The benefits of measuring and reporting food waste are demonstrated by those businesses that publicly reported 2018 and historical data. Collectively, these organisations reported a 7% reduction in food waste; equating to a saving of 53,000 tonnes, or food valued at £85 million. This represents a major saving of resource that would have been used to produce this food and helps to keep food in the supply chain for human consumption.

How ADAS can help

ADAS can support you in measuring and reporting food surplus and waste within your own operations and across your supply chain using the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap guidelines. We can then help identify waste hotspots, and the processes necessary to minimise waste and extract the maximum value from by-products. If you are interested in joining other proactive businesses in reporting your progress in reducing food waste, get in touch.

Find out more about how we can support your organisation here. If you’d like to find out more, contact Harriet Illman, Senior Consultant within the Sustainable Food and Farming Team at ADAS.

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