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Food waste is food that has not been eaten based on decisions and actions from food suppliers, retailers, and consumers.

1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted each year

In the UK alone, we waste around 9.5 million tonnes of food a year within UK households, hospitality & food services, food manufacturers, retail, and wholesale sectors. This has a value of over £19 billion a year (WRAP - 2020 Study).


Food waste can occur at all stages of the food supply chain from production, processing, storage, transportation, retail, and consumption (Schanes, Dobernig & Gozet, 2018).

In production, crops can be damaged by numerous things from pests to severe weather conditions which can cause food to be wasted before the harvesting period even begins. On average farmers reported that 22,000 – 37,000 tonnes of food are wasted on typical years. (Feedback Group – 2018 Report).

22,000 - 37,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables are wasted on typical years

It is found that around 14% of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching the retail level, including through on-farm activities, storage, and transportation. A lot of produce is lost when it’s stored due to pests and microorganisms that can eat away the food– leading to rotting. This is common in humid and hotter climates where insects and microorganisms thrive (FAO – 2019 Report).

Every year, 100,000 tonnes of edible food from the UK’s retail sector is wasted – equivalent to 250 million meals going due to the main component that causes food waste in this stage (potentially the major causes of food waste as a whole) over the uncertainty of food expiration dates. There is confusion in deciphering ‘best before’, ‘sell-by’, or ‘use-by dates’ leading consumers to throw away food that is still safe for consumption.

Reports suggest that UK households are continuing to waste 6.6 million tonnes of food annually due to people not knowing what they have at home before they do their intended shopping. Additionally, it is estimated that the UK household food waste is worth £14 billion which is equivalent to £700 per year for an average family with children (WRAP – 2020 Report).

70% of UK food waste occurs in households 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is wasted in UK households each year

1 comment

  • Great read!


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