Industry open letter calls for mandatory public food waste reporting


food waste

Too Good To Go has published an open letter signed by over 30 companies from the UK’s food, retail, and manufacturing sectors, advocating for mandatory public food waste reporting. 

Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Winnow are amongst the signatories of the letter, which is addressed to Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) Steve Barclay.

In the letter, which was published in partnership with the British Retail Consortium, the signatories acknowledge the progress made under the Courtauld Commitment and other initiatives but “emphasise the necessity of mandatory reporting to drive meaningful change” and encourage more action to be taken across the industry.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, commented: “We’re delighted to see the strong level of industry support for the introduction of mandatory food waste reporting. The stark reality is that a staggering 40% of all food produced globally goes to waste.

“In 2024, there is no room for half-hearted measures or commitments a decade away. The Government has an opportunity to lead the way in the fight against food waste by introducing mandatory food waste reporting and we hope it will seize this chance.”

We’re delighted to see the strong level of industry support for the introduction of mandatory food waste reporting.

Too Good To Go said that over a third of all food produced currently goes to waste, food waste contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and pre and post-farm gate food waste costs the UK economy £21.8 billion annually.

Last year, in a wide-ranging update to its 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, Defra announced it would not mandate waste measurement and reporting for large food businesses until 2026, despite 80% of respondents to a 2022 consultation being in favour of a mandate.

However, on 21 November 2023, the UK government withdrew its previous response to its consultation on mandatory food waste reporting saying the Environment Secretary will now “reconsider” a mandate.

Former Health Secretary Steve Barclay was appointed as the new Environment Secretary, replacing Thérèse Coffey, on 13 November. He became the fifth Environment Secretary in four years following Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle.

CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) welcomed the review by the new Environment Secretary “given the support for mandatory food waste reporting in the consultation responses”.

Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the BRC, added: “Mandatory Food Waste reporting is a key step in reducing food waste, helping retailers to understand their waste hotspots and where surplus food can be redistributed.

“While most retailers already report voluntarily through WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, mandatory reporting will enable greater transparency across the supply chain. Retailers will continue to engage with the Government to ensure that the system works for all stakeholders and that it aligns across the four UK nations.”


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