British Retail Consortium: food waste in supermarkets during 2014 was 180,000 tonnes, down from 200,000 tonnes in 2013

  • Combined industry food waste is down by 20,000 tonnes
  • Figures published in line with transparency commitment
  • Retailers working with supply chain partners to achieve sustained reduction in food waste

LONDON, 2015-11-02  — /EPR Retail News/  —  A group of leading UK retailers have for the second time published a combined food waste figure, in line with a commitment to increase transparency and report on progress annually in this area. A British Retail Consortium (BRC) report, which details the practical steps supermarkets are taking to reduce waste, reveals the total amount of waste which occurred in supermarkets 2014 was 180,000 tonnes, down from 200,000 tonnes in 2013. This figure was calculated using data from seven major supermarkets* and was independently collated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

While this decrease in food waste is positive, when looking at the supply chain as a whole, retailers still account for just a little over one per cent of the estimated 15 million tonnes of food which is wasted in the UK each year. A considerably higher proportion of this waste occurs at other stages along the supply chain including at the farm and manufacturing stages as well as within the home.

UK retailers can and do use their position at the heart of the supply chain to influence the amount of food wasted both in the supply chain and at home. BRC members have an ongoing commitment in this area and individual retailers are working on a range of projects and initiatives focused on their own operations, on suppliers and on households to prevent food waste from occurring in the first place. These are outlined in greater detail in today’s BRC Report.

Retailers are also working very closely with redistribution organisations across the UK to ensure that where they do have useable surplus food, as much as possible goes to the people who need it most. Where food waste does arise, retailers continue to find the most appropriate way of utilising it effectively, with many retailers now sending zero food waste to landfill.

BRC Director of Food & Sustainability, Andrew Opie, said:

“While we welcome the fact that retail food waste levels are falling, it is nevertheless important to continue to focus attention and efforts on where the biggest reductions in food waste can be made and that is in the supply chain and at home. As an industry, we have a huge contribution to make and we will continue our work with suppliers and customers to build on the progress we have already achieved.”

* The participating retailers are Asda, Co-operative Food, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. In 2013 those retailers agreed a set of common rules and working with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) calculated a UK food retail sector waste figure of around 200,000 tonnes (accounting for 86 per cent of the UK market)

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

1. Retail is the first and only UK industry to take the progressive approach of publishing a combined food waste figure in line with a commitment to increase transparency and has committed to report on progress on an annual basis

2. The participating retailers have agreed to voluntary targets on food and packaging waste through the Courtauld Commitments, coordinated by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and supported by the four UK governments

3. This figure is non-comparable with figures for food waste from individual retailers. There are a number of significant differences in methodology, scope, timescale and coverage that mean these figures should not be compared directly

4. The figure is based on data reported by retailers to WRAP to measure progress against the Courtauld Commitment 3 manufacture and retail target. This data is audited and relates to 2014

5. Today WRAP is reporting progress made by grocery manufacturers and retailers in 2014 – the second year of the Courtauld Commitment 3. Retail food waste is included in the manufacture and retail target but is published as a combined figure which includes manufacturing and packaging waste

6. It is estimated by WRAP that around 15 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted in the UK each year

7. The supermarket food waste figure forms part of the BRC’s ambitious annual progress report on its A Better Retailing Climate initiative which reports on the retail industry’s progress on sustainability and environmental issues

8. The figure relates to food waste only and does not include primary packaging associated with food waste

9. Food waste arises at retail level for a variety of reasons such as expiry of use by date, product recall, breakages, damages and products taken out of the chill chain

10. The attached infographic to the right shows the amount of food wasted in the food value chain

11. Please also find attached to the right the food waste report

12. Given the large volumes of food waste in the UK grocery supply chain and the lack of detailed data on agricultural food waste, food waste on farm is becoming a focus of attention. We are working with our members on this issue and we are planning to hold a round table event in early 2016.

For media enquiries please contact Laura Blumenthal 020 7854 8924 laura.blumenthal@brc.org.uk

Source : British Retail Consortium