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Trials reveal redistribution of surplus food cuts waste

Supermarkets could redistribute produce at a store level to cut down on the amount of food being thrown away, according to a study by WRAP.

A new report published from WRAP, The Food Connection Programme, contains results of trials which the body says is the UK’s first piece of quantitative research on store-level surplus food redistribution.

The research found that while tonnages of surplus food available at store level are small in comparison to the whole supply chain, the volumes are sufficient to deliver real benefit to those who need it.

The report also highlights the barriers to rolling out redistribution from stores on a nationwide scale including resource limitations at charities and retailers.

For the trials, WRAP worked with food redistribution and food waste charities, FareShare and FoodCycle. Information from the trials was shared with the Industry Working Group (IWG) to further inform the discussions taking place throughout the whole supply chain.

The report’s “quick win” recommendations include undertaking a waste audit and identifiying local charities to take surpluses.

WRAP has also published new case studies and Guiding Principles from the Food Redistribution IWG providing information on the opportunity for action across the supply chain. 

Andy Dawe, head of food and drink at WRAP, said: “By drawing on the experiences and expertise of both the voluntary and business sectors, we now have a better understanding of the surpluses available at store level and are closer to overcoming some of the barriers to redistribution, both at store level and across the supply chain.

“The working group has laid the foundations which the whole sector can build upon. In order to realise many food waste prevention opportunities we now need to see more collaboration within the industry, and with charities, to expand on this good work and make more of this valuable food available to those that need it.”

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