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UK wastes 15 million tonnes of food a year

In the UK 15 million tonnes of food is wasted a year, with half of this discarded in homes, according to a report from the UK’s Global Food Security (GFS) programme.

GFS highlighted “5.6 million people live in deep poverty, where basic food provision is a daily challenge” in the UK - in stark contrast to the amount of edible food that is wasted.

The research found: retailers in the UK can reject up to 40% of edible produce; households accrue more than 5kg of food waste per week on average; two thirds of household food waste is avoidable, which costs the average household £480 a year.

“Reducing the scale of losses and waste throughout the entire food system is a crucial step towards improving global food security,” said GFS in its report Food Waste within Global Systems’ .

The report discusses research priorities - and funding priorities - to help reduce food waste, including:

  • Agile automated harvesting technologies;
  • Packaging technologies; good seasonal weather prediction;
  • Anti-bacterial surfaces; domestic food management practices;
  • Changing consumer perceptions; new ways to reduce waste within the home;
  • Biological pathways of maturation and ripening;
  • Microbial spoilage;
  • Economic analysis of supply-chains.

Professor Tim Benton, the UK’s Global Food Security Champion, said: “New approaches and new research will be instrumental in reducing waste, such as smarter packaging for retailers, improved understanding of consumer behaviour, and better weather prediction that will reduce waste at harvest.”


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