Food waste progress flagging, says WRAP chief

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign claims to have achieved a 21% reduction in avoidable food waste since 2007
The Love Food Hate Waste campaign claims to have achieved a 21% reduction in avoidable food waste since 2007
Progress on food waste reduction is flagging and the food and drink industry must “raise its game”, according to Dr Liz Goodwin, ceo of Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Addressing delegates at the Fresher for Longer conference, held in London on February 5 to update groups tackling the problem on progress, Goodwin said: “There’s a slowing down in the rate of reduction and that’s really worrying.

“Collectively all of us have got to raise our game. All of us here in this room can make a big difference. I simply can’t stand here next year and say we haven’t made any progress in the past 12 months.”

Big changes

She admitted there were challenges ahead for WRAP, which was set up to target efficient waste and resource use. One of the biggest was that repeated government cuts to the anti-waste body’s funding were forcing it to consider big changes.

“WRAP is evolving to diversify its funding base,”​ she told delegates, which included packaging firms, retailers and food and drink manufacturers. "A future move to charity status is being scoped out ..."

Results of a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) spending review, published in November last year​, suggested the government was not then willing to withdraw funding for WRAP completely. But Goodwin’s latest comments anticipate a different end goal.

However, she said WRAP had enjoyed the support of the trade, local government and other groups with similar interests for some time. As a result, she said she was confident it could build on the work it had already achieved with their backing and see current targets met.

‘Great strides’

“We have made great strides since 2007​ [since its Love Food Hate Waste campaign began] and we can be proud of what we have achieved … I do think we have the power to reduce avoidable food waste by half by 2025.”

Figures published for the Love Food Hate Waste​ campaign on November 7 2013 revealed that it had achieved a 21% reduction in avoidable food waste​ since 2007, equivalent to 1.1Mt. Domestic food waste had been cut by 1.3Mt in 2012, WRAP confirmed.

In addition, according to a recent WRAP poll conducted after its November 2013 update, consumer awareness of food waste had risen by 21%.

However, the amount of meat and fish binned by consumers had not changed in the past five years, the data revealed. And current campaign estimates are that the average UK household is still throwing away the equivalent of six meals a week, costing the average family £60 a month.

Other groups associated with the Fresher for Longer event included the Food and Drink Federation, The Packaging Federation, Kent Resource Partnership and research organisation Incpen.

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