Food waste falls by 7% per person in three years

The UK is making steps in reducing its food waste, with total food waste levels falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018
The UK is making steps in reducing its food waste, with total food waste levels falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018

New data shows almost half a million tonne reduction in total UK food waste in just three years – enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall ten times.

Reducing food waste has also saved citizens over £1 billion per year compared to 2015, figures released today (24 January) show.

Food sustainability group WRAP’s latest Courtauld Commitment 2025 milestone report sets out progress in food waste reduction since 2007.

It reveals that households and businesses are now tackling the problem at an accelerated rate, with a greater rate of progress from 2015 to 2018 than over the preceding five years.

While good progress, the report warns there is more to do - across the whole food chain.

The report shows that UK households still waste 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten, worth £14 billion every year - or £700 for an average family with children.

The volume of food still wasted equates to ten billion meals.

A reduction of 4% in the supply chain also shows good overall progress from businesses, but WRAP says many more businesses need to step up their action on food waste to help halve global food waste by 2030.

The significant decrease in household food waste can be attributed to a range of factors including heightened public awareness and clearer labelling on food packaging.

Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO said: “We are in a new decade and have just ten years if we are to honour our international commitment to halve food waste.

“This really matters because it is untenable that we carry on wasting food on such a monumental scale when we are seeing the visible effects of climate change every day, and when nearly a billion people go hungry every day.

“This great news announced today means we are starting to wake up to the reality of food waste, but we are too often turning a blind eye to what is happening in our homes.

“We are all thinking about what we can do for the environment and this is one of the most simple and powerful ways we can play our part. By wasting less food, we are helping to tackle the biggest challenges this century – feeding the world whilst protecting our planet,” he said.

While the UK is a global leader in tackling food waste, WRAP wants the UK to go further.

The organisation will continue to work closely with governments, businesses and citizens to address this throughout 2020; including the launch of a public campaign to ignite a national food conversation.