Wales’s Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn, reiterated the Welsh Government’s determination to tackle food waste, during a festive visit to Iceland Food Limited’s head office in Deeside yesterday.
Every year, the UK bins poultry costing around £660m. The Minister visited the frozen food specialist to hear more about their plans to tackle waste in the supply chain. She also took the opportunity to endorse Love Food Hate Waste’s seasonal poultry campaign.
This year’s ‘Give a Cluck’ campaign aims to increase awareness amongst 25 – 34 year olds of how much poultry is wasted every year and offers hints and tips on preserving food to decrease the amount unnecessarily ending up in the bin.
Wales has already made impressive progress on reducing household food waste. In 2015 household food waste levels were lower than the rest of the UK by around 9% per person. In addition, household food waste reduced by 12% per person between 2009 and 2015. This equates to around £70 million of food not being wasted. 99% of households in Wales are now covered by separate local authority food waste collections.
The Minister said: “Family get-togethers over food are obviously a massive part of Christmas but we need to help people understand more about correct freezing and storage to reduce food waste.
“I learnt today Iceland sells over 20,000 frozen turkeys through its Welsh stores at Christmas. However, every year in the UK, 86 million birds are thrown away uneaten and the value of thrown away poultry in Wales costs us £31m every year.”
Iceland is, like the Welsh Government, a signatory of Courtauld 2025, an ambitious voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable. The company sends no unsold food to landfill;instead putting it to good use in the community, converting it to animal feed; or sending it to Anaerobic Digestion.
Earlier this year, the Welsh Government confirmed its plans to consult on introducing a non-statutory target for Wales to halve food waste by 2025.
The Minister added: “We are proud Wales is right up there among the world’s best recycling nations. We know though more needs to be done, in particular on tackling food waste.
“We have made great progress but if we are going to realise our ambition to halve food waste by 2025 we need householders and businesses to be fully on board. I was pleased to hear about Iceland’s work in this area and I would encourage other companies across Wales to sign up to the Courtauld agreement.”