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 email@example.com to be added to the guest list.
Lucre’s Roundtable Event – Food Waste
Where Brits are headed in the culinary world
The results are in and it’s official, we’re a nation of foodies – well, sort of.
Coining the term ‘Culinary Magpie’, the latest Great British Chefs Insight report has shown a real resurgence of food trends from 50-60 year ago, with foodies looking to cook things from scratch, whether that’s jams, chutneys and pickles or the more technical coq au vin, we’re willing to get our hands dirty and give it a go!
The modern-day British foodie’s kitchen contains all the bells and whistles that you might expect from a start-up restaurant. The likes of ice-cream makers, pizza stones and spiralisers have become commonplace and it turns out that around 40 per cent of us own specialist equipment needed for pickling, 13 per cent for brewing beer, and an enthusiastic five per cent curing their own salami*.
When it comes to whipping up a quick, nutritious dinner, foodies steer well clear of microwave or ready meals and takeaways are likely to be sourced from local restaurants as opposed to chain stores. The esteemed foodie has the creativity to throw something together based on whatever they can find in the cupboard, with pasta being the main go-to as it’s easy to create but still delicious, so long as you don’t use a store-bought sauce…
While foodies as a whole are a talented bunch, modesty is not their strong point. When surveyed, 82 per cent said they’re much better cooks than their parents, taking inspiration from books (88%) or online (85%)*. Eating out is another important source of knowledge with the majority recreating what they’ve been served in British restaurants or on holidays abroad. Copy-cat cooking is also on the up thanks to the boom of televised cooking shows such as Masterchef and Great British Bake Off as an adventurous 83 per cent cook dishes they’ve seen on-screen.
The famed Sunday roast is still a fighting favourite for Brits, however foodies have taken a truly global approach to eating. More of us are branching out to try exotic meats such as ostrich, kangaroo, buffalo and crocodile. A peek inside our kitchen cupboards surprisingly reveals more fish sauce than brown sauce along with copious amounts of coconut milk, soy sauce and tinned tomatoes.
Overall, the recent survey from Great British Chefs highlights exactly how the world of food has changed so dramatically from as little as ten years ago, when things like fish sauce and spiraliser machines were housed solely in expert kitchens. We’re hoping to see more unusual ingredients becoming readily available in the next five to ten years with an onslaught of eager, budding foodies to match!
This month we held our second Lucre Group Ideas & Insight session looking at the Food & Drink sector. The title was Provenance vs Price: The Future of British Food Post-Brexit. A very relevant topic in the current uncertainty of whether Brexit will be an opportunity or a challenge for food manufacturers, retailers and ultimately, customers.
We held the event in the stunning setting of the National Association of British and Irish Millers which backs onto Green Park in central London and has the Ritz as its neighbour. We invited a host of food industry experts from a variety of businesses, including Iceland, British Pepper & Spice, Sacla, Hellmans, Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs and the Quality Food Awards.
They all came to listen to four speakers who looked at different angles to the British food debate.
Margaret McSorley Walker, a food trends consultant for major FMCG brands and supermarkets including Asda and M&S, talked through emerging British food trends from butter and seaweed to quark and cold-smoked chocolate. We had a personal tasting session from James Swift of his award-winning British Trealy Farm Charcuterie. We were inspired by Fraser Doherty’s story on how he set up SuperJam when he was just 16-years-old and looked at the hard realities of shopper behaviour and retailer strategies from retail commentator, Bryan Roberts.
The consensus was that British food is living through an increasingly interesting, exciting and challenging time. Brexit could offer some opportunities for British food manufacturers as it becomes cheaper to source home-grown products but it’s important to always keep a close eye on costs and pricing. British customers like the idea of British-made food but the weekly shopping bill is still tightly controlled, and shoppers won’t tolerate large hikes in prices.
All in all, it was a fascinating look at the issues surrounding British food and the likely impact of Brexit which is causing a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is certain…we have some brilliant food producers in the UK both big and small, and we should be doing everything we can to celebrate them.
You can see some highlights of the event in this video.