In this unpaid, voluntary role, Elliot will work with businesses and other stakeholders from across retail, food manufacture, hospitality and food services, motivating businesses to tackle food waste. The appointment forms part of the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy launched in December.
Elliot is the co-founder of lifestyle group Quintessentially and chair of the Quintessentially Foundation, the business’s philanthropic arm.
He said: “Whilst families all over the country struggle to put food on the table and children still go to school each day with empty stomachs, there continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable.
“As a nation, we need to stop this excessive waste and ensure that surplus food finds its way to people in our society who need it most, and not let it get thrown away and go to landfill. The progress that we have made at the Felix Project [a London-based surplus food redistribution charity] has had a positive impact on thousands of people’s lives in London and I am extremely grateful to all of those involved in the food sector that have been so supportive.
“My new appointment will allow me to work with Defra and food retailers all over the country to help build out a nationwide strategy that will ensure surplus food is not wasted at the expense of those in our society that truly need it.”
On the appointment, Gove said: “Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal. We must end it. That’s why I am delighted Ben Elliot is taking up this position and know he will bring the enthusiasm and skills this important role needs. His first task will be to help ensure our £15m food waste fund redistributes surplus food that would otherwise be wasted to those most in need.”
Elliot’s appointment follows a £15m pilot scheme to substantially reduce food waste from retailers and food manufacturers announced in October 2018, as well as a £500,000 Food Waste Reduction Fund announced in 2017.