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01 Apr 2024

Leading UK Companies Unite in Open Letter Urging Government Action on Food Waste

Too Good to Go Stand: 6E10

In a unified effort to combat food waste, social impact company Too Good To Go, in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium has led an open letter with over 30 prominent signatories from the UK's food, retail, and manufacturing sectors, including Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Danone, Nestle, Innocent Drinks and numerous others. The letter, addressed to Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, calls for the introduction of mandatory public food waste reporting.

With more than a third of all food produced currently going to waste, the urgency of tackling food waste has been recognised across the food sector. Food waste contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and pre and post farm gate food waste costs £21.8 billion annually to the UK economy. 

While acknowledging the progress made under the Courtauld Commitment and other initiatives, these companies emphasise the necessity of mandatory reporting to drive meaningful change and encourage more action to be taken across the industry - through more data-driven strategies, driving efficiencies, and fostering collaboration and economic growth.  

“We're delighted to see the strong level of industry support for the introduction of mandatory food waste reporting”, says Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go. “The stark reality is that a staggering 40% of all food produced globally goes to waste. In 2024 there is no room for half-hearted measures or commitments a decade away. The Government has an opportunity to lead the way in the fight against food waste by introducing mandatory food waste reporting and we hope it will seize this chance.” 

Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the BRC, adds: “Mandatory Food Waste reporting is a key step in reducing food waste, helping retailers to understand their waste hotspots and where surplus food can be redistributed. While most retailers already report voluntarily through WRAP's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, mandatory reporting will enable greater transparency across the supply chain. Retailers will continue to engage with the Government to ensure that the system works for all stakeholders, and that it aligns across the four UK nations.”

Liz Fox, National Sustainability Director at Aldi UK, says: “It is important that we tackle the critical issue of food waste as an industry, and mandatory food waste reporting would be a significant step forward in doing just that. Food waste reporting, and analysing opportunities for improvements, has already helped us achieve one of our food waste targets early - and allowed us to be even bolder in setting a new waste-reduction goal.”

Hannah Cornick, Head of Sustainability & Social Innovation at Danone UK & Ireland commented: “At Danone, we think reporting on food waste is extremely valuable – because what gets measured, gets managed. In the UK we already report our figures to WRAP on an annual basis, tracking our progress towards 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Mandatory reporting would help improve visibility of food waste right across the industry, highlighting it as both a business and wider sustainability issue that we should all be focused on managing.”

“As the old saying goes, ‘what gets measured, gets managed’. Mandatory food waste reporting is a vital step on the UK hospitality’s journey towards a sustainable way of operating” adds Ed Robinson, Sustainability Manager at Wells & Co. “Accurate data will allow businesses to discover how food waste is generated, empowering them to make positive changes that will minimise that waste, reducing their carbon footprint and saving them money into the bargain. We at Wells & Co. encourage the government to support our industry on its path to a greener future.”

Julie Owst, Head of Sustainability at Bidfood adds: “Food waste has for too long been a hidden problem at all stages of food supply chains, right from farm to plate, so we wholeheartedly endorse the call for mandatory reporting, as awareness and visibility of a problem is often the first real step in tackling it at scale.”

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