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Courtauld Commitment hails increase in food redistribution

The redistribution of unsold food has almost doubled in the past year but no progress has been made in reducing manufacturing and retail waste, data on progress of the cross-industry agreement has indicated.

The first figures released by WRAP on the impact of Courtauld Commitment 3 show that retailers redistributed 38,000 tonnes of food for human consumption in 2013, up from 21,000 the year before.

Resource and environment ministers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland welcomed the announcement.

“Where appropriate, surplus food should be reused for human consumption and this report shows an impressive 80% increase in the amount we are redistributing,” said resource minister Dan Rogerson.

The figures also indicated that the carbon impact of packaging has reduced by 4.5% in the period, against a target of no growth by 2015. According to WRAP, this was due to signatories’ efforts to reduce packaging, increase recycled content and use different packaging materials.

However, WRAP also indicated little change in reducing traditional ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain. 

Signatories had agreed a 3% reduction target by 2015 but to date there has been a 0.1% increase.

Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, said: “There is still much to do before the end of this third phase, with the biggest challenge being the manufacturing and retail target. We will be working closely with signatories to help ensure all the targets are met.”

WRAP noted that figures on the progress against a 5% target for reducing household food waste are not collected yearly and will be available later.

The third phase of the voluntary commitment across the food and packaging supply chain was launched in May 2013 and runs until 2015. Dozens of retailers and food and drinks companies have signed up to it.

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