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Food giants launch pilots to cut waste

Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative and Nestle are leading trials to improve the environmental sustainability of some retail food products.

The pilot schemes follow an analysis from the Product Sustainability Forum (PSF), which is a group of more than 80 food and home improvements retailers and suppliers, and experts from academia, NGOs and UK Government.

The Co-operative is focusing its efforts on waste prevention across potato supply chains by engaging internal stakeholders. Nestle is looking at resource efficiency for its milk and chocolate supply chains by working collaboratively with a supplier, First Milk, as well as working with dairy producers to find new ways of working together. Sainsbury’s is working on its meat, fish, and poultry products supply chains.

New research from PSF, published by WRAP, examines the life cycle of products, including waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy and water use. The report identified a ‘top 50’ products to prioritise for action, such as canned fish, breakfast cereals, and pre-packed sandwiches.

The comprehensive analysis was carried out using more than 3,000 data points from more than 150 studies.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP and chair of PSF, said: “The PSF approach is to focus on solutions, and these pilots are the start of that process. By bringing all of the key players into the forum and sharing information they can collectively deliver more sustainable products whilst also identifying what will work best for their own sector or business.”

Lord de Mauley, resource management minister, said: “It is great to see major household names leading the way to cut out wasteful food practices in the UK. By simplifying the production of their goods, we know that businesses can save themselves billions of pounds while reducing their environmental impact.”

WRAP is also publishing environmental impact reports for the electrical and home improvement markets, both due out this year.

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