OPINION

Will regulation solve the food waste problem?

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Educating consumers and redistribution could help solve food waste problems in the UK
Educating consumers and redistribution could help solve food waste problems in the UK
Leatherhead Food Research vice president for business development asks whether or not regulation can help solve the UK’s food waste problem.

Most would agree food waste is something everyone should be working together to help reduce. The scale and impact of the issue is significant.

According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme, 10 million tonnes of food and drink is thrown away each year, 60% of which could be avoided. The ethical, environmental and economic implications are challenging for industry and consumers.

Difficulty finding answers

The multiplicity of actors involved in the food chain makes it difficult for sustainable answers to be found that have a realistic prospect of success. Even finding a common definition of ‘food waste’ remains an almost impossible challenge.

While national governments consider potential policy and regulatory solutions, market-specific initiatives have largely emerged under two themes.

First, consumer empowerment and education – enabling consumers to fully understand the meaning of durability coding on food products and support recognition of what constitutes a quality date and a safety date. Second, strategies that encourage the redistribution of leftover and short shelf-life stocks by producers to those most in need.

Plastic packaging impact

The recent outcry over the impact of plastic packaging on the environment has done nothing to simplify approaches to the problem. Plastic packaging often performs a functional role, helping extend shelf-life and protecting products from contamination.

Moves to reduce it could result in a reduction in the quality and safety attributes of products, potentially increasing food waste over time as the shelf-life is shortened.

The problem demands holistic consideration of the full supply chain. A wider impact assessment of initiatives designed to achieve mutual outcomes of reducing both food and packaging waste should be sought by those driving the waste reduction agenda.

Related news

Show more

Related products

Packaging Machinery Report

Packaging Machinery Report

William Reed Business Media | 23-Jul-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Food manufacturers investing in new equipment and in a given specification of packaging materials will naturally expect both to be fit-for-purpose and...

Related suppliers

comments

Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more