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Manufacturers and producers need to make more meaningful contributions towards meeting the UK’s food waste reduction targets, according to an online surplus food retailer.
While welcoming the growing support for an innovative national food waste reduction programme, Approved Food notes that more needs to be done to meet the country’s sustainability goals.
It comes as over 200 food businesses sign up for the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The pilot hospitality scheme, implemented by resource protection body WRAP, aims to inspire food waste champions across the country. Several multiples such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, as well as fast food and food-to-go outlets like Burger King and Pret A Manger are also taking part.
Since its launch in 2018, the scheme has seen the number of participating organisations more than double. But with around 260 companies now on board, of which 160 are food production businesses, this represents just half of the sector. As the country looks to achieve its food waste reduction targets, more support will be needed from manufacturers and producers, according to Approved Food MD Andy Needham.
“It’s good news that so many businesses have already signed up to be part of this initiative,” Andy said. “But we need to do more if the UK is to meet its environmental commitments to prevent a further 1.8 million tonnes of food from going to waste by 2030.
“More food manufacturers and producers still need to get on board though to help us meet those targets.”
Andy continued: “It’s important to remember that businesses like ours are an important part of the solution. By buying surplus stock from manufacturers and distributors, we not only reduce waste but provide a welcome revenue stream. The more good-quality food that is released for redistribution, the better.”
While private households have a key role to play in reducing food waste, more than half a million tonnes of waste must be prevented by the manufacturing, food service, retail and hospitality sectors, according to Approved Food’s brand ambassador Jonathan Straight, who added that an additional 400 businesses joining the scheme and publishing their data and insights would be a significant step towards meeting these targets.
The country’s efforts to tackle food waste have been widely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic this year, but those in the industry are optimistic that, with many people having reconsidered food waste during lockdown, reduction targets are achievable with the necessary support in place.