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Tuesday 20th March 2018

UK‘s Biggest Grocers Pledge to Halve Food Waste by 2030

Lifestyle & Health

Leona Stratmann

Tue, 14 May 2019 19:41 GMT

It is one of the most frustrating issues and one that we are all confronted with daily. Perfectly fine food can be seen being thrown out everywhere. Britain currently wastes 10.2 million tonnes of food every single year, says the government. An amount that is simply shocking. The British government hosted an event to raise the issue and called on major players in the food industry to pledge to cut food waste.

Out of the 10.2 million tonnes of wasted food per year, 1.8 million tonnes are coming from food manufacture, one million tonnes from the hospitality sector, 260,000 tonnes from retail and the rest from households, according to the department for environment, food and rural affairs. 

The waste of food is not just shameful, but also an "environmental, economic and moral scandal," said co-host and environment secretary Michael Gove at the ‘Step up to the Plate’ event at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Monday May 13th.

In an official press release, the government explained that “players from the worlds of food retail and hospitality, along with social media influencers and chefs, have been urged to take ground-breaking action to drive down food waste from all sources.”

It was started by the initiative by the government’s food surplus and waste champion, Ben Elliot. Elliot had been appointed to the role, which was created to help promote awareness of the issue of food waste, in December 2018.

So far, the feedback from the ‘Stand up to the Plate’ event is going well, as some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and grocery related companies such as Nestlé, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose, signed the pledge to help halve food waste by 2030.

Apart from setting an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2030, the pledge also asked organisations to further help by using “their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation.”

Individuals were urged to pledge to change “their habits as an individual to be a Food Value Champion at work and at home,” which would mean buying only what they need, storing groceries correctly and eating what they buy.

Beyond that, the initiative made similar calls to what climate experts and activists have been asking for years, an immediate change in habits by everyone.