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Food: Waste

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 58932, tabled on 19 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the agricultural industry to minimise food waste.

Answered on

22 October 2021

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government funds the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to administer the Courtauld Commitment 2030 voluntary agreement, including the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap (FWRR), which aims to reduce food waste from farm to fork through collaboration with businesses.

Included in the FWRR is a practical model for how farmers and growers can be supported to measure on-farm food surplus and waste and take action to reduce it. WRAP estimates that around 50 farm businesses have undertaken measurements to date, with most of those in the last two years. The aim is to provide support for another 30 farmers and growers.

We are also supporting WRAP’s and the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s Whole Chain Food Waste Reduction Plans (WCP). A toolkit is available to help businesses across the supply chain work together to understand waste hotspots for a food product and to identify ways to reduce these. The Roadmap has a target of at least 50 active WCPs in place by 2022.

WRAP has also supported farmer-led pilots to understand how food waste measurement and reduction can be best implemented in primary production as well as resources for farm advisers to deliver similar projects with their clients.

Since 2017, Defra has provided around £12 million of grants to the redistribution sector to increase the diversion of surplus food for human consumption from waste destinations. Some of these grants were used to harvest and collect surplus from farms, minimising food waste.

Furthermore, the Government’s Food Strategy White Paper will cover the entire food system from farm to fork, building on work already underway in the Agriculture Act, Fisheries Act, and Environment Bill as well as docking into wider Government priorities, including Net Zero, the 25 Year Environment Plan, and Build Back Greener. As part of this, Defra is exploring options to reduce carbon emissions from food production including food waste, as well as to incentivise land use change to sequester more carbon and restore nature, and preserve natural resources.

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