Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, has called for the food distribution industry to curb the growing volume of food waste generated in the UK.
ReFood is a food waste recycling and waste management service that uses renewable energy to dispose of commercial food waste sustainably.
According to figures published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in January, household food waste in the UK increased 4.4% between 2012 and 2015, despite a clear target to cut this volume by 5% before 2016.
The total volume of food waste generated in 2015 surpassed 7.3Mt, of which 1.9Mt went to landfill.
Variety of sources
However, despite these figures, blaming the consumer alone would be short-sighted, claimed Simpson, who noted that the total volume of food waste ending up in landfill each year came from a variety of sources.
The food distribution industry generates a significant volume of food waste, a high percentage of which (4,000t/year) is sent directly to landfill, according to WRAP.
Grocery think tank IGD attributed much of this waste to poor or damaged packaging, inaccurate temperature control and environmental factors – such as damp or contamination, he said.
“Despite this reasoning, the fact still remains – action must be taken, and soon, to curb the volume of food waste generated by the sector,” remarked Simpson.
‘Wasting food produce is ludicrous’
“At ReFood, we believe that wasting produce is ludicrous – so much energy, water and labour resources go into producing it. As such, reducing waste must be a priority.”
To combat the problem, a number of initiatives have been introduced across the industry, many of which are already producing results.
The Courtauld Commitment, for example, which aims to promote change across the supply chain, is inspiring change from businesses operating across the sector, said Simpson.
Similarly, the waste prevention toolkit available from IGD provides excellent guidance to businesses on how to apply best practice, he added.