Food waste has been discussed and debated endlessly in the media in recent years to the point that maybe we’ve become immune to the detail. We know we should reuse our leftovers, consider what we buy and when, understand the difference between best before and use by dates and maybe donate a few cans to people less fortunate than us when we’re at Tesco.
This is great, but we need to understand the true extent to what food is wasted in order for us to buy that lovely Valentine’s Day meal deal or those perfectly straight carrots. WRAP estimated (it’s impossible to predict an exact number) that annual food waste from UK households, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors is 10 million tonnes – 60% of which could have been avoided. In total, we waste food worth £17 billion a year which creates 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Ultimately, the agricultural, manufacturing, supply chain and the retailing system we have developed means we produce more food than we need and a large proportion of this gets wasted.
Our food waste habits are costing us money and polluting our environment but equally, we’re seeing people all around us who cannot afford to eat. Elderly people dying from malnourishment, children who may only eat one meal a day and food bank use continuing to rise. 8.4 million UK families are struggling to put food on the table, the equivalent of the whole population of London.
But, there are some real super-heroes who are helping to redress the balance and ensure that surplus food is used as a force for good. There’s innovative NPD that is challenging the category leaders, savvy technology that’s connecting waste with communities and people who are using food waste to create partnerships that drive social empowerment.
In our next Lucre Roundtable event, we are celebrating the Innovative Waste Warriors who are making a difference in the war on waste; the people, the businesses and charities who are using food surplus to innovate, connect and empower. Along the way, we hope to inspire businesses to look at the way they produce food and what they could do differently.
Join us on March 1st at St Luke’s Community Centre in London and hear from some inspirational speakers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the guest list.