Thank you for contacting me about food waste.
Like you, I do not want to see good food go to waste - it harms our environment, it is bad for business and it is morally indefensible.
I am therefore pleased that ministers are supporting the Courtauld 2025 Commitment, delivered by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which aims to reduce UK food waste by 20 per cent per capita by 2025, based on a 2015 baseline. Action here is primarily through the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and the Target, Measure, Act approach where businesses set a reduction target, measure food waste and act to reduce it. This is currently voluntary under the Roadmap, but the Government will consult this year on introducing regulations to make the transparent reporting of food waste volumes mandatory for businesses of an appropriate size. By ensuring businesses are measuring and publicly reporting their food waste, I expect to see driven action to reduce it.
At the household level, ministers are tackling food waste through supporting campaigns such as Love Food, Hate Waste and Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date as well as the UK’s first Food Waste Action Week which was held in March 2021. My ministerial colleagues and I also support the WRAP and its work with retailers and other food businesses who play a key role in influencing household food waste through interventions such as pack sizing and labelling. These measures all help consumers to buy what they need and use what they buy.
It is encouraging that Defra’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion, Ben Elliot, is currently motivating key businesses, individuals and delivery partners to tackle the barriers to food redistribution, such as branded product and Best Before dates. Since taking up the role at the end of 2018, he has met with a wide range of small and large businesses across the hospitality, food manufacturing and grocery retail sectors, as well as with surplus food redistribution charities.
Finally, I am pleased that since 2018, over £11 million has been awarded to help redistribute more surplus food to those who have a need and to stop it from going to animal feed or disposal destinations. It is welcome that hundreds of projects have been supported across the country in providing infrastructure such as vehicles, freezers and fridges. In addition, through WRAP ministers continue to work closely with the redistribution sector and across the food chain to tackle any barriers to increasing redistribution including through the provision of tools and guidance.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP