Food waste is a big issue and for this reason I thought it was about time I did a blog on food waste. Focusing mainly on all the positive work that is happening in this area.
The amount of food wasted around the globe amounts to a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes every year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Another sad fact suggests that 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal, despite the UK wasting billions of food annually. As such, local organisations such as FareShare, Wrap UK and City Harvest London have set themselves up as organisations to use and distribute food that would otherwise go to waste. Other charities such as Save the Children also help families to reduce food waste or deal with the effects of food poverty directly in their homes.
Over 1.9 million tonnes of food are wasted every year by the UK food industry alone, with CIWM Journal reporting that 270,000 tonnes of that food is still perfectly edible. At the same time FareShare notes that 46% of people accessing the charity’s services have gone a whole day in the last month without a proper meal. Surely these two statistics should not occur simultaneously….
Sharing the waste
Surplus food occurs everywhere along the supply chain and FareShare is advocating the Government to bring in new rules to ensure that it is cheaper for businesses and food manufacturers to redistribute this surplus food to those in need, rather than dispose of it or use it simply for animal feed.
City Harvest have created more than 1.7 million meals by collecting surplus fresh food from most segments of the food industry. These include grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and restaurants, and they are able to redistribute more than 20 tonnes of food weekly. Founded only four years ago by Laura Winningham, her husband, and a couple of friends, City Harvest is having a major impact on reducing waste and feeding the hungry.
While FareShare and City Harvest London work to provide food for those in need, organisations such as WRAP UK focus on food waste reductions in the UK manufacturing and retail sectors. They do this by working closely with these industries to help them cut waste through detailed waste prevention strategies. These include a thorough understanding of the exact amount of waste they produce, proper food waste costing, set exact waste reduction targets, emphasise the highest waste areas, and create a culture of waste prevention from employees to top management. Their goal is to cut waste associated with food and drink in the UK by one-fifth per capita in the next 10 years.
From providing food for those in crisis, to helping both individuals and the food industry to reduce waste, these organisations are making a big impact in combating food waste in areas throughout the UK. At the same time, organisations including Save The Children provide support for low-income families and their children. Save the Children work with families at home through their Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! (ESLP!) program that provides grants for important household items such as cookers, books and toys.
For me I think it’s so positive to know that there is action happening out there. We hear so much about the doom and gloom, and though there is a LONG way to go to reduce food waste and improve poverty, it’s good to know action is happening. These charities work tirelessly to help combat poverty and malnutrition, and help reduce the staggering amount of waste every year. For more information, or to get involved yourself,be sure to visit their websites.