In a report published yesterday, The House of Lords EU Committee urges action on the basis that food waste represents a financial and environmental loss of resources. 15 million tonnesof food wasted in the UK each year equates to a financial loss to business of at least £5 billion per year. Environmentally, the carbon footprint of worldwide food waste is equivalent to twice the global greenhouse gas emission of all road transportation in the USA.
The Committee found that efforts across the EU to reduce food waste were 'fragmented and untargeted' and called upon the new European Commission, (due to be established in November), to publish a five-year strategy on food waste prevention within six months of taking office.
With Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Morrisons all supplying witness statements/evidence to the report – the committee called upon the big supermarkets who dominate food sales in the UK, to act more responsibly in limiting food waste by both farmers and consumers. With suggestions that the supermarkets should move away from incentives such as 'buy one get one free' for certain types of produce, which it was felt resulted in more food waste at home.
Another area of waste highlighted was the cancelling of orders of food that has already been grown by producers - a practice which leads to unsold, but perfectly edible, food being ploughed back into the fields or left unharvested. It is estimated that millions of tonnes of food is wasted annually in this way.
Expert Witnesses/organisational contributors to the report:
Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), ARAMARK,
Professor Tim Benton, University of Leeds, British Retail Consortium (BRC),
Café St Honoré (SRA member), The Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association (CESA),
Copa-Cogeca, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
The Dutch National Food Bank, Environmental Services Association (ESA), FareShare, Food and Drink Federation (FDF)
Feeding the 5,000 (soon to be known as Feedback), FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies),
Professor Charles Godfray, University of Oxford, Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, Paul Gregory, Food Solutions
Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), The Hague Food Bank, Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN)
Institute for European Environmental Policy, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), Keep Britain Tidy,
LINPAC Packaging, Marks & Spencer (INCPEN Board member), Morrisons, Nando's, National Farmers' Union (NFU),
Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation (NNCF), North London Waste Authority, Packaging Federation, Bob Salmon, Food Solutions
Shropshire Council, SITA UK, Sodexo, Specialist Waste Recycling, Sustain, Sustainable Food Alliance (SFA), Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)
Tesco, Unilever Food Solutions, Veolia, Waitrose, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP),
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF UK).
Link below to the full report: