Ok, so not all of these are strictly to do with food policy but there’s so much happening on the food waste front in the UK and around the world, that it’s just too exciting not to talk about. Here’s a quick round up of five key developments that have caught my attention.
1. We now have a clearer picture of how food gets wasted, and where it's happening.
New research by the government sponsored 'waste reduction agency' (WRAP) has shown that we could be distributing as much as four times the amount of food we are currently. The new figures show that the UK wastes 1.1m tons of avoidable food waste, worth a staggering £1.9bn.
2. Gleaning will change the way we think about food waste
Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they've been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. 20–40% of food gets wasted before it even gets to the shops. Organisations like Feedback are running gleaning networks that help redistribute this perfectly edible food. They’re scaling up the UK Gleaning Network and need your help.
3. New legislation in the US is targeting date labelling on food in an effort to tackle waste
The often confusing labelling of food as “best if used by” or “expired on” is to be reviewed and standardised in the US. How food is labelled affects whether people think it’s edible or not, and doing this the wrong way means perfectly edible food is going in the bin, unnecessarily.
4. The Women’s Institute are getting back to their roots
83% of delegates at the Women’s Institute (WI) Annual Meeting backed a resolution to call on supermarkets to reduce food waste. This takes the WI back to its founding roots: during the First World War, the WI was formed to encourage women to grow and preserve food to help increase the supply of food.
5. We can beat undernutrition and obesity with sure fire policies.
The Global Nutrition Report which surveys 57 countries around the world has found for the first time that over half of those countries are experiencing very serious levels of both under-nutrition and obesity. It’s terrifying stuff for health services in those countries, but there are success stories showing it can be beaten with the right government polices in place.
At Neighbourly, we're passionate about reducing food waste, and our work in the UK with M&S is something we're very proud of. M&S have reported that, over the past few years, they've reduced food waste by 9%, and it's great to be a part of this. You can read more about it below.
-Steve Haines | Head of Community Engagement