Food valued at £1.8bn wasted on UK farms annually, WWF says


Almost 3m tonnes of edible meals goes to waste on UK farms annually, in accordance with new analysis by the WWF, which the conservation group has described as a “hidden disaster” for the nation.

The report, Hidden Waste, says produce price £1.8bn is misplaced annually, which is the equal to six.9bn meals yearly, or greater than 18m meals a day.

WWF and grocery store large Tesco, which helped direct the analysis, need the federal government and meals business to assist farmers measure, report and scale back waste to enhance meals safety and assist reverse climate change.

See additionally: Fruit and veg price £22m left to rot on account of labour shortages

The report has referred to as for obligatory recording of on-farm meals waste by farm companies to be launched over the following two years in order that policymakers can see the complete scale of the issue.

“The solely motion referring to the provision chain is the session on obligatory meals waste measurement, which focuses solely on giant companies and excludes farm stage all collectively,” the report mentioned.

“While work to scale back meals waste within the provide chain and citizen properties stays vital, efforts ought to goal all levels of the provision chain, from farm to fork.”

Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) has proven that when farmers start to measure waste, they’re higher capable of establish and goal the causes – decreasing it and attaining a mean 20% improve in profitability.

Future authorities funding schemes for farmers in England, Scotland and Wales also needs to think about meals waste measurement and reporting as a part of funds, the report mentioned.

Report findings

The report discovered {that a} whole of three.3m tonnes of meals is wasted on UK farms annually, of which 2.9m is edible.

Examples of meals waste embrace livestock of a mature weight that die on account of illness or harm, and eggs, cereals and fruit and greens that don’t meet specification or grading, in addition to crops left unharvested on account of an absence of market or labour.

Although when the meals will be re-distributed for human consumption – grocery store “wonky veg” ranges, for instance – it’s classed as meals surplus.

Of the three.3m tonnes of waste, fruit and greens contributed greater than one-third (1.1m tonnes).

Meat and animal merchandise contributed 800,000t of waste, and cereals and pulses simply over 200,000t of waste.

The report mentioned that serving to farmers to scale back meals waste would require coverage and apply modifications from authorities and the provision chain.

Labour shortages

The NFU has repeatedly highlighted labour shortages within the horticulture sector, which the union says has led to an estimated £60m price of fruit and veg crops being wasted within the first half of 2022.

There have been calls inside the agriculture business to develop the Seasonal Worker Scheme, in addition to for the federal government to assist repair the longer-term labour points affecting sectors similar to dairy and pigs.

Katy Norgrove, government director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, mentioned: “This hidden disaster exhibits why we want pressing motion to repair our damaged meals system.

“Given the cascade of advantages that tackling meals waste on farms may carry – from bolstering our meals safety to serving to deal with the local weather disaster – UK authorities and companies throughout the meals sector should take pressing motion to help farmers in slashing meals loss and waste on farms.”