The Government will set up a £15m pilot scheme to reduce food waste, the environment secretary has announced.
Food waste in the UK totals 10.2 million tonnes per year, of which 1.8 million tonnes comes from food manufacture, 1 million from the hospitality sector, and 260,000 from retail, with the remainder from households.
The new pilot scheme, announced yesterday by Michael Gove, will address surplus food from retail and manufacturing.
It is estimated 100,000 tonnes of food from retailers and food manufacturers is edible and readily available but goes uneaten.
This is the equivalent of 250 million meals a year.
This food is currently sent away for generating energy from waste, anaerobic digestion, or animal feed.
‘Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. It harms our environment, it’s bad for business – and it’s morally indefensible,’ said Mr Gove.
‘Every year, around 100,000 tonnes of readily available and perfectly edible food is never eaten. This has got to change.
‘In the coming months we will work closely with business, charities and volunteers to deliver a new scheme to tackle this problem.’
Dr David Moon, head of business collaboration at WRAP commented: ‘Today’s announcement is a great boost for the many support networks around the country working hard to ensure good food feeds people, and is not wasted.
‘Between 2015 and 2017 surplus food redistributed from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses increased by 50%, with nearly £130 million worth of food saved from waste.
‘And there is the potential to increase this significantly, and to expand the range and type of foods with more fresh produce. Not only will this benefit people, it will also help reduce the huge environmental impact of food waste.’