WRAP has found that 3.6mn tonnes of food surplus and waste occur in the primary production phase every year, costing the UK £1.2bn.
In new insights, published on 25 July, the sustainability body found agricultural food waste hit 1.6mn tonnes with 2mn tonnes of surplus – equivalent to 7% of total annual UK food harvest. WRAP noted the findings were based on 2017 data and stated it is now working to acquire more information from producers directly, enabling it to refine its estimates and help to direct future action. It is calling on businesses and researchers to share insights through its collaborative data sharing platform.
Peter Andrews, Head of Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, noted how food waste is a major source of carbon emissions and while the challenges in tackling it in farming are vast, no stone can be left unturned in tackling it. Andrews added: “Retailers are working closely with their suppliers to minimise waste, for example by using more accurate prediction of demand, finding ways to use surplus production, and settings clear targets for future improvement.”