Food Waste Consultation

18th August 2022

Food Waste Consultation

This is a guest post from Caela at our charity partner Feedback...

In response to the government’s recent consultation on food waste, Feedback have launched a campaign demanding that the government urgently implement mandatory farm-to-fork food waste reporting. Take action here.

Let’s take a moment to remember: food production is the single biggest impact that humans have on the planet.

So how absurd is it that a staggering 40% of the world’s food is thrown away each year?

Food waste produces 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, uses 28% percent of the world's agricultural land area, and uses 3.6 times the blue water footprint of total US consumption each year.

This tragic waste of natural resources is damaging remarkable ecosystems and pushing the planet further towards climate chaos.

But, on the flip side, fighting food waste is one of the best tools we have to reduce our impact on the planet.

Alongside many others who have become awakened to the huge problem of food waste, in recent years I’ve been taking steps to reduce it; eating surplus food, composting my kitchen leftovers and using it to grow vegetables in my garden.

But tackling this systemic problem lies far beyond my compost bin: around half of the UK’s food waste occurs in businesses before it even reaches our plates.

Perfectly good food is wasted due to a whole variety of issues, ranging from supermarkets rejecting food for being the wrong size and shape, unfair trading practices like last minute order cancellations, and farmers overproducing because they fear punishment from their buyers if they ever run short.

A crucial first step to reducing this is to know how much waste there is, and who is responsible for it.

And now we have an historic opportunity! After three years of delay, the UK government is finally discussing a new law to make food waste reporting mandatory for larger food businesses.

As the first legislation of its kind in the world, this could help shine a light on the millions of tonnes of good food thrown away by retailers and food businesses each year, and encourage them to reduce their waste.

However, without public pressure, there’s a risk that this legislation will be seriously delayed and watered down. It might exclude farms completely, delay reporting another 3 years, or even be cancelled in favour of ‘enhanced voluntary reporting’.

That’s why Feedback has launched a campaign demanding that the government doesn’t waste this opportunity: they must take ambitious action to tackle food waste now.

Why do we need mandatory food waste reporting?

In short, without it, everyone’s in the dark. Most UK food companies currently keep their food waste reporting hidden from public view, or don’t measure it at all. This lack of monitoring and control means food businesses causing waste can avoid scrutiny, farmers suffer in silence as their food is rejected, and food waste piles up.

Public reporting is also essential to be able to hold companies accountable for the food they waste.

Most food businesses aren’t going to voluntarily start reducing their waste overnight. It’s the responsibility of the government to encourage and place pressure on them to do so.

Feedback have launched a campaign that challenges this consultation with three key demands:

  1. To make food waste reporting a mandatory legal requirement for all large and medium sized businesses, including franchises.
  2. To ensure that primary food producers such as farms are also obliged to report their food waste data.
  3. No more delays: to start food waste reporting by 2023 for businesses who already have data, and 2024 for businesses who don’t.

Feedback’s email action allows you to easily submit a response to the consultation, calling for these key demands. It’ll take you a couple of minutes to help win a major food waste victory.

Let’s not throw away our precious planet.

Take action now.