It is estimated that approximately one third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, amounting to more than 1.2 billion tonnes per year.
10 million tonnes of this food and drink waste, which arises post-farmgate, comes from the UK. Worth over £20 billion each year, it has been suggested that 60% of this could be avoided. Should these rates continue, by 2030 food waste levels will have risen by a third totalling more than two billion tonnes a year.
In order to confront and tackle this issue IGD, a research group for the food industry, and WRAP, the Waste & Resources Action Programme, have joined forces to launch the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
This Roadmap outlines actions that businesses can take to addresses waste in their own operations, support suppliers and motivate consumers to reduce food waste. This is all in line with national and international targets for global consumer and retail food waste to be halved by 2030.
Food and drink businesses are being encouraged to:
- Set a food waste reduction target for your operations
- Measure in a consistent way and share key learnings with industry peers
- Take action to reduce your own food waste, work in partnership with suppliers, and help consumers reduce their food waste
So, what measures can businesses working within the food processing and packaging industry take to ‘do their bit’ in achieving these targets.
Manufacturers should gain an understanding of the scale and causes of consumer food waste regarding their products. At what stage of the supplier chain is wastage at its highest?
Consider: Increasing shelf life; evaluate packing options such as split packs or resealable packs that would increase the open life of the product; smaller packs could also help to reduce wastage; should the end user be the biggest waste culprit, provide portion size guidance
Could the production of surplus food be reduced? If not, could the surplus be moved on up the food hierarchy?
Consider: Joint meetings with suppliers and partners to review levels of waste provided can flag up occasions where one company’s waste may of use to another company; agree production programmes as far in advance as possible of crops being required.
Do your suppliers and customers know what you are doing to help reduce food waste? Could the end user be doing more to support your efforts? If so, utilise your branding and channels to communicate to consumers.
Consider: Provide storage advice to customers for food to last longer; explain the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ and the appropriate action for consumers to take; equip consumers with best practice guidance for freezing on pack; share recipe ideas to encourage consumers to utilise the remainder of the product.
At Value Stream Machinery (VSM), we can provide off-the-shelf and bespoke machinery and our experienced teams would welcome the opportunity to discuss the options available and how these can help your business play its role in reducing food waste.
To discuss further, please call us on +44 28 90 730153.