UK supermarkets sign government pledge to help halve food waste

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 Coffee, 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.”

Earlier this year the government launched a £15 million game-changing scheme to tackle food waste, building on its landmark Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out how the government will introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has invited organisations to apply for the second round of more than £6 million funding under the government’s game-changing scheme to slash food waste. We would like to see larger food businesses report their food waste transparently on an annual basis in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. We will consult later this year on mandatory reporting for larger businesses.

The government is committed to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to help halve food waste by 2030, report on progress and prioritise action.

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