One year on from the launch of WRAP and IGD’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, 156 UK food businesses have now committed to Target, Measure and Act on food waste. This represents more than half of UK food industry turnover, and more than double the number of food businesses committed to the Roadmap at launch.

These businesses have been joined by a further 29 other organisations including major trade bodies, and redistribution organisations. That number has risen from 19 at launch.

121 of these food businesses have provided evidence to WRAP that they are already implementing the Target, Measure, Act strategy in an effort to reduce food waste. These include all of the UK’s largest grocery retailers, and over 100 other large food businesses.

This represents progress towards the ambitious aim to have 50% of the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by September 2019.

Together these 121 businesses have a combined turnover of over almost £220bn, representing 50% of the overall turnover for UK food manufacture, retail and hospitality and food service. They also generate around 1.1 million tonnes of food waste in their own operations, a third of the total UK post-farm gate supply chain food waste.

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, announced the details at the annual meeting of the Champions 12.3.* He said: “I am delighted at the huge progress in this first year of the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. Businesses that are implementing Target, Measure, Act are already reaping the benefits, and those publicly reporting comparable data show an average 7% reduction, and a combined saving of around 53,000 tonnes of food valued at over £85m. Working together with Courtauld 2025, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is putting the UK on a path to achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3.

“But there is much more to do, and our ambition is to have all major food businesses implementing Target, Measure Act by the end of 2026.”

Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD, said: “One year ago we launched the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which focused on helping food and consumer goods companies to reduce their food waste. I am delighted that more than 150 companies have now committed to support the roadmap, with 121 of these businesses already implementing Target, Measure, Act. These businesses represent a combined turnover of almost £220 billion. IGD and WRAP continue to work very closely with these companies, giving them the tools to understand how they can measure and reduce food waste. Our industry has made great strides on this important issue in the last 12 months, but we are not complacent. Reducing food waste is a long-term journey and we recognise there is more we can, and will, be doing in the future.”

Government Food Waste Champion, Ben Elliot, said: “It’s brilliant to see the Target, Measure and Act food waste prevention strategy in action with 53,000 tonnes of food rescued so far.

“However, it’s not just the food industry that needs to work on waste prevention, it’s up to all of us to help solve this issue.”

All large grocery retailers have committed to the Roadmap and are implementing Target, Measure, Act. The 15 businesses have a collective turnover of more than £160 billion, representing almost 80% of the grocery retail and wholesale sector. Retailers are increasingly publishing their own food surplus and waste data, although more needs to be done to ensure it is reported in a consistent manner, and fully compliant with the Roadmap guidelines.

The number of food producers and manufacturers committing to the Roadmap has doubled since launch, to 117. Collectively they represent around 45% of the entire sector by turnover and cover all of the major categories of food, and the different nations of the UK.

Around 80% of these producers and manufacturers provided evidence that they are implementing Target, Measure, Act, representing a third of the entire sector. Almost 40 have publicly reported food surplus and food waste, the majority as part of the initiative announced by Champions 12.3 chair and Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.

The number of hospitality and food service sector businesses committing to the Roadmap has also doubled since launch to 24, representing around 20% of the entire sector by turnover. They include some of the UK’s largest restaurant chains, food outlets, hotel groups, contract caterers and food service providers. More than half of these have provided evidence that they are implementing Target, Measure, Act.

A dedicated Action Plan has been produced for the hospitality and food service sector with milestones that recognise the complexity of the sector, and focus on Government procurement and waste management contract data. WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign was launched this year to help increase the number of businesses in the sector measuring and reducing their food waste, with a dedicated month of action throughout September called Stand Up For Food.

As well as broadening membership of the Roadmap, WRAP and IGD have expanded its reach through a variety of supportive activities across the various sectors of the grocery and hospitality food chains. Since launch, the organisations have;

  • Produced more than 40 case studies showing how different businesses have implemented Target, Measure, Act and the benefits of doing so.
  • Delivered extensive engagement and training sessions with more than 150 businesses hosted by major retailers, brands and key organisations. More than 20 trade bodies have attended a WRAP workshop to engage their members.
  • Designed, developed and delivered a dedicated Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) Action Plan, and Guardians of Grub campaign to reduce food waste.

A full progress report can be viewed on the WRAP website.

Reporting food waste

The achievements to date were made against a backdrop of significant challenges faced by the food sector including an intensely competitive trading environment, uncertainty around Brexit and a range of competing and challenging asks of businesses – not least around single-use plastics.

Furthermore, the introduction of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap by WRAP and IGD precedes the forthcoming consultation on mandatory public reporting of food waste data by businesses, announced by the UK Government.

The introduction of any mandatory food waste reporting would be a ‘game changer’ and will directly support the ambitions of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. WRAP is working closely with policy makers to ensure regulations align and are informed by the Roadmap and its resources.

  • *Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.