‘Step up to the plate’ rallying call on food waste

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Major players from the worlds of food retail and hospitality, along with social media influencers and chefs, have joined forces to pledge ground-breaking action to drive down food waste, a driver of climate change.

Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Secretary Michael Gove was among the first to sign up to the pledge – which includes a goal to halve food waste by 2030.

He has been joined by players in the world of food including Nestlé, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose to help halve food waste by 2030.

All these commitments have been given on the back of food waste champion, Ben Elliot, hosting a major symposium in London, entitled: ‘Step up to the Plate’.

Speaking at the event Michael Gove said: “I want to thank our Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot for bringing together the biggest players from the world of food today to ‘Step up to the Plate’ and slash food waste.

“Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious food is thrown away.

“This is an environmental, economic and moral scandal, and I am determined to tackle it.

“I urge businesses to join me in signing the pledge to deliver real change to stop good food going to waste.”

Ben Elliott commented: “Climate change is no longer a buzzword: we must all stand up and be counted. We squander 10 million tonnes of food and drink every year.

“Businesses throw away food worth an estimated £5 billion and £15 billion is wasted from our homes. The emissions this creates is the equivalent of every third car on the road. We simply must put an end to this.”

Those organisations and individuals taking the ‘Step up to the Plate’ pledge will be expected to reduce food waste by: setting an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2030; embracing a Food Conversation week of action in November 2019 to highlight the changes we can all make while also using their voices and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation.

Currently, around 55,000 tonnes of surplus food is redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers every year throughout the UK. It is estimated a further 100,000 tonnes of food - equating to 250 million meals a year - is edible and readily available but goes uneaten. Instead, this food is currently sent away for generating energy from waste, anaerobic digestion to be used for fuel and fertiliser, or animal feed.