Food waste in the U.K is currently a massive problem, we waste around 15million tons of food annually and we only redistribute 2% of unused fit for purpose food.
France re-distributes over 20 times this amount. If we reached those levels we could save the voluntary sector, who often have to buy food to hand out to people, £250 million a year.
Here in Southampton I helped to organise a project called CRUMBS, alongside local charity SCRATCH. The project takes in-date food that's being thrown away by supermarkets and redistributes it to our city's most disadvantaged residents. In stopping this waste from going to landfill CRUMBS also benefits our local environment and reduce emissions; since the project began in the city, CRUMBS has saved 436 tonnes of food from being wasted and saved 1800 tonnes of CO2.
This is making a great impact locally, but more needs to be done nationally to alleviate food waste in the U.K. That is why I was delighted to sponsor my fellow Labour MP, Kerry McCarthy’s Food Waste (Reduction) Bill in parliament. The Bill obliges supermarkets to donate any unsold food, ensuring that any food should not be thrown away when people are willing and able to take it. It is estimated that between 20-40% of fruit is rejected by supermarkets before it reaches the shop floor, so this bill will require that Supermarkets publish food waste across the supply chain making them more accountable for the food they waste. Finally large supermarkets and manufacturers will be required to reduce their food wastage by 30% by 2025. This is in line with the proposed sustainable development goal target of halving per capita global food waste by 2030.