Food Waste

Tackling food waste wherever it occurs across supply chains is a key priority for FDF members, with particular emphasis on driving out inefficiency in supply chains to prevent waste and surpluses from occurring in the first place.

This is illustrated by the commitments FDF has made around food waste within its Sustainability Ambition, launched in October 2016. These include the contribution we are making to the WRAP Courtauld 2025 target to reduce UK food waste by 20% per person by 2025 compared to 2015 as a signatory organisation. WRAP will be reporting on progress against the C2025 targets in 2019 (for the period 2015 to 2018), and then in 2022 (for 2021) and 2026 (for 2025).

In particular, the Ambition reaffirms our members' commitment to work to the food waste hierarchy. This means that when food is unable to stay within the human food chain and be redirected to feed people, a first consideration should be whether it can be redirected to feed livestock subject to safety, quality and legislative requirements being met. Otherwise, consideration should be given to using it as a raw material for other industries or failing that it should be subject to recycling/recovery. Only as a last resort should it be incinerated without energy recovery or sent to landfill.

The WRAP/IGD Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, the Your Business is Food campaign, and the Fresher for Longer campaign are important initiatives supported by FDF and intended to help meet the WRAP C2025 target and beyond this the UN SDG Goal 12.3.

Step up to the Plate

In May 2019, the government launched the Step up to the Plate initiative fronted by Government's Food Waste and Surplus Champion, Ben Elliott. At the heart of this new initiative is the Step up to the Plate Pledge calling on organisations and individuals to significantly cut food waste by:

  • Setting an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2030 in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3
  • Adopting the WRAP and IGD Food Waste Reudction Roadmap to have half of all 250 of the UK's largest food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2019
  • Embracing a Food Conservation week of action in November 2019 to highlight the changes we as citizens can all make
  • Using their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation
  • Changing their habits as an individual to be a Food Value Champion at work and at home, buying only what they need and eating what they buy

Our CEO, Ian Wright, has signed the pledge and FDF has given its support to the initiative. We are joined by more than 100 food organisations who have signed the Pledge to date.

Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer at FDF said:

“FDF fully supports the 'Step up to the Plate' pledge and the work being done to measure and reduce food waste. We actively encourage our members and the food and drink manufacturing industry as a whole to take advantage of the range of helpful tools available to do so. These include the 'Target, Measure and Act' approach set out in the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, of which we are a signatory.

Food waste is an important issue to FDF members and by working across the value chain, we can make a real change happen on this important social and environmental issue.”

Food Waste Reduction Roadmap

In September 2018, WRAP and IGD published the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and its associated guidance and templates. Over 70 food businesses from across the food chain committed their support for the Roadmap at launch, as did leading trade bodies and UK governments including FDF.

The Roadmap encourages businesses to Target, Measure and Act (TMA) to reduce the amount of food they waste, aiming to help halve UK food waste by 2030 in line with SDG 12.3. It is particularly targeted at larger businesses with >250 employees and/or turnover >£50M pa. Specifically, businesses commit to:

  • set a food waste reduction target;
  • measure in a consistent way and share learnings; and
  • take action to reduce their own food waste, work in partnership with suppliers and help consumers to reduce their food waste.

Several resources are available for download from WRAP, including the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Toolkit, UK measurement and reporting guidelines, and Sector specific guidance for: meat, dairy, fresh produce, retail and HaFS guidelines for quantifying food waste in effluent, and in sludge from on-site treatment have also been produced.”

As a supporting organisation FDF is working with member companies to help WRAP achieve its interim target for the Roadmap of 50% of the UK's largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by September 2019 with all 250 companies doing so by 2026.

Your Business is Food

Do you know what food waste is costing your business? Research tells us that food manufacturers across the UK waste almost 1 million tonnes* of food a year costing some £1.2 bn. This means as a business you could stand to save an average of £1200 for every tonne of food waste prevented on site.

Your Business is Food is a campaign developed by WRAP and supported and delivered by FDF and other partners to help food manufacturing businesses make financial savings by reducing food waste. Through use of a few simple tools and other resources it is designed to help companies boost profits in ways that shouldn't cost the Earth or be too time consuming.

More information and links to the available resources »

Fresher for Longer

Launched in 2013 with support from FDF, 'Fresher for longer' is a public facing communications initiative under WRAP's Love Food Hate Waste programme. It is designed to show how food packaging and the way consumers use it can help reduce food waste. A range of communications materials were developed to coincide with the launch such as template posters, postcards, bag clip postcards and editorial, tweets – find more information

The initiative built on the findings of independent research into attitudes and behaviours around food, food waste and food packaging on which FDF worked as part of a WRAP-led Steering Group along with the BRC (British Retail Consortium), INCPEN (Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment), Kent Waste Partnership, and The Packaging Federation.

The research showed that how long food stays fresh for is a priority for consumers, but many were not making best use of the information on the pack, or the packaging itself, to achieve this. Nor were they aware of the benefits that packaging can offer to maximise in-home shelf-life. However, there was a clear interest in packaging that can maintain food freshness, and in more effective on- pack messages about how to store food.

The research highlighted several opportunities for consumers and consumer groups, as well as food and packaging organisations and innovation.

Other resources:


* Figure correct at the time of launch. WRAP restated food waste figures in 2018. Further information »


Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2019