Posted: 16/09/2019

WRAP survey discovers scale of food waste in production

Sustainability body WRAP hopes new insights, revealed by its latest survey research, into the scale of surplus and food waste on UK farms will help reduce the problem.

Its survey, described as “the most detailed” to date, found that around 3.6m tonnes of food surplus and waste occur in primary production every year – worth £1.2bn at farm gate prices.

Surplus is defined as material at risk of becoming waste, but goes instead for redistribution, animal feed, or to become bio-based materials.

WRAP estimates that food waste accounts for 1.6m tonnes of the total figure, or around 3% of production with a market value of around £650m.

Sugar beet, potatoes and carrots made up more than half of the overall waste by weight, with the top 10 products accounting for 80% of the total weight. 

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP said the findings showed “huge” potential for reducing the amount of surplus and waste by promoting best practice and that was where its work was now focused.

“We want to increase redistribution of surplus food as has happened across the retail sector, and I am pleased this will now be much easier through the Food Surplus Network.”

When grouped by product type, horticultural crops make up 54% of the total, cereals 30%, livestock 8% and milk 8%.

Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, said: “Having new insights into the scale of food waste and under-utilised production on farm is a positive step forward, and a resource that should be of use to many growers and the wider supply chain.”

This story appeared in the September issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

Read more of the latest news from Fine Food Digest here

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