The United Kingdom has started a new government-backed plan to cut the amount of food that is wasted annually in Britain – estimated to be 10 million tonnes with a value of 20 billion pounds. Tesco, Nestle and Coca-Cola were among the 70 leading companies to sign up for the plan that promises to halve Britain’s food waste by 2030 and save the nation at least 10 billion pounds ($13 billion) a year.
Food waste is increasingly viewed as unethical in a world that struggles with rising hunger, and as environmentally destructive. Over one third of all food produced – worth $1 trillion – is wasted with much being dumped in landfills where it rots, releasing greenhouse gases, while fuel, water, and energy needed to grow, store and carry it is wasted.
Researchers fear annual food waste could rise by a third to 2.1 billion tonnes by 2030. In the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations in 2015, world leaders pledged to halve food waste by then.
Food companies in Britain are aiming to tackle waste “from farm to fork” under the new voluntary monitoring plan and will be asked to outline their actions to reduce food loss and publish details of wastage regularly to show their progress.
Businesses also committed to work with supply chains and consumers to identify weak links where food is lost. The plan aims to have all food firms employing more than 250 people measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2026.
Britain’s environmental minister Thérèse Coffey said in a statement:
“It is through government, consumers, and businesses working together that we will continue to tackle the unacceptable issue of unnecessary food waste”
Other European countries, including France and Italy, have already adopted national measure to fight food waste. While Britain has one of the lowest levels of food redistribution, a system where out-of-date but edible food is given to people in need via charities and food banks.