Redistributed food increased by 27% compared to 2021 – WRAP


food waste

According to WRAP’s annual UK Surplus Food Redistribution data, redistributed food has increased by around 29,000 tonnes (27%) compared to 2021, which WRAP says is equivalent to 70 million meals.

The data shows approximately 170,000 tonnes of surplus food was received by redistribution organisations in 2022 equating to just over 400 million meals with a value of more than £590 million.

WRAP’s data also highlights there was more food redistributed across all food storage types, with chilled and frozen foods seeing the highest growth across the last year at 34% and 20% respectively.

The latest official redistribution figures show that the tonnes of surplus food redistributed by charitable and commercial channels have both continued to rise – charitable channels are at 70% while commercial channels are at 30%.

For data submitted in 2022 to WRAP, the retail sector remained the largest source of redistributed surplus food (41%), followed by manufacturing (32%). The Hospitality and Food Service sectors saw the highest relative growth over the past four years (10%), and the farming sector provided 5% of surplus food – the remaining 12% is from mixed/other sources.

If food waste were a country, it would have the third biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, commented: “Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. The environmental impacts are huge – if food waste were a country, it would have the third biggest carbon footprint after the USA and China.

“I’m proud of the work Defra has done to support redistribution and cut food waste. We continue to support WRAP in its delivery of initiatives to drive down the volume of food going unnecessarily to waste, with funding of more than £2 million this year for food waste prevention.”

WRAP says its allocation of government grants for items such as fridges and freezer vans enables redistribution organisations to do their job more effectively. 27% of respondents who stated that the amount of food their organisation redistributed in 2022 was greater than in 2021, recognised an increase in capacity to store and handle more chilled and frozen food as a “key factor” behind the increase.

Catherine David, Director of Behaviour Change and Business Programmes, said: “Surplus food redistribution is a continued success story, with increased items being directed to those who need them.

“Optimising refrigeration and freezing facilities means that a wider range of food can reach people. While great strides have been made, WRAP urges the food sector to do more. Businesses working in collaboration with the redistribution industry now need to find solutions to other issues which prevent access to harder-to-reach surplus.”

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