UK food industry commits to waste reduction objective for first time

Posted by Isobel Drake on 28th January 2009

The UK’s top grocery retailers, brands and manufacturers have committed to an industry-wide food waste reduction objective for the first time. This will be delivered under WRAP’s (Waste & Resources Action Programme) Love Food Hate Waste campaign, and is anticipated to result in considerable savings to UK consumers of more than £370 million. This equates to a saving of almost 700,000 tonnes of CO2 – the same as taking 220,000 cars off the road for a year.

Signatories of the Courtauld Commitment – a voluntary agreement led by WRAP – have agreed to work together to help reduce the amount of food the nation’s householders throw away by 155,000 tonnes by 2010, against a 2008 baseline.

WRAP has identified fresh fruit and vegetables, bakery products, dairy, meat and fish products as the highest source of household food waste. Action will be focused on identifying solutions and will examine how areas such as labelling, pack size range, storage advice and packaging designed to keep the food fresher for longer can all help to prevent household food waste. To date, a number of retailers have implemented initiatives on food waste reduction through their involvement in the Courtauld Commitment.

As part of its wider food waste strategy, WRAP is now working with the Courtauld signatories, UK Governments and industry partners to develop and implement category-specific action plans.

“This pledge signals a concerted and consistent approach by the grocery industry to reduce household food waste,” WRAP CEO Liz Goodwin said. “Taking action under the Courtauld Commitment will help the grocery sector reduce the carbon impact of food waste while delivering significant cost savings straight to the consumer pocket. We want to see packaging innovation and advice to help shoppers make positive product choices and make the best use of the food they buy, therefore reducing the amount of waste.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about WRAP’s work on food waste should visit