Food wastage figures revealed

November 12, 2013

In a report by INCPEN, the Industry Council for Research on Packaging and the Environment, they detail the £43 million worth of food we throw away every day.

In a report called Checking Out Food Waste, they have asked real retailers what exactly they throw away, in a move that could help supply chains to reduce the amount of food waste. Around 61% of product losses in the retail supply chain are because of wastage. 

Previously the report only estimated numbers which were based on a small selection of retailers, whereas the current data has been provided by three major UK supermarkets, which account for 65% of the total market.

The biggest food items that are wasted between the warehouse and the checkout was fruit, followed by meat and poultry, then vegetables and baked goods. Financially, the biggest food losses are made from eggs, bananas, ham, grapes and bread. By weight, over 1,500 tonnes of bananas are disposed of every year.

INCPEN director Jane Bickerstaffe noted that most of the items in the list were not pre-packaged items. “It would be worth exploring if packaging more items sold loose would reduce waste.”

The total number of food wastage was approximately 22,000 tonnes at a cost of £43 million annually.

Further research needs to be made to understand how to combat the food wastage in the supply chain, but several factors such as inadequate packaging, over ordering, stock rotation issues and even the weather had an impact on why certain foods were disposed of.