More than 100 of the biggest players in food, including all of the UK’s major supermarkets, have signed a pledge to take ground-breaking action to drive down food waste following a call to action from the government.
Big-hitters from the world of food and sustainability including Aldi, Asda, Caffé Nero, Co-op, Costa, FDF, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Starbucks, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, Nestlé, Ocado, UKHospitality, Unilever, World Wildlife Fund for Nature and Waitrose have signed a pledge committing to help halve food waste by 2030 and raise public awareness of the issue through a week of action.
Currently, in the UK an estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted annually after leaving the farm gate, worth around £20 billion. It is estimated that UK householders spend £15 billion every year on food that could have been eaten but ends up being thrown away, equating to £500 a year for the average household.
Today’s announcement comes after the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot urged organisations to ‘Step up to the Plate’ at a landmark symposium last month. The event brought together around 300 key players from various parts of the food industry for a day of targeted discussion and action.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
I am delighted to see so many UK food businesses commit to game-changing action to cut food waste, and I hope that others follow suit.
The UK is showing real leadership in this area, but each year millions of tonnes of food is wasted.
I want to thank our Food Surplus and Waste Champion for inspiring business to step up to the plate. Together we will end the environmental and economic scandal that is food waste.
Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot said:
We are pleased to see these retailers committing to change. To those retailers yet to sign the pledge – why not? You have a responsibility to step up and do your bit.
We will be highlighting those who participate and those who do not. The food waste crisis can only be solved by collective action.
Judith Batchelar OBE, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said:
Food waste is one of the biggest challenges currently facing today’s society and an intrinsic part of our combined response to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. At Sainsbury’s it continues to be an urgent and important priority for us to tackle.
By working collaboratively with others, from suppliers through to fellow retailers, we can work to eliminate surplus waste within every part of the supply chain process and achieve the impact that we all want to see.