According to the charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), 400 million meals are wasted every year in the UK. Out of 270,000 metric tons of food that could have been consumed, companies and consumers redistributed just 18 percent to charities and food banks last year. However a new study shows it’s possible to prevent more than half of that waste.

Food, food waste, food surplus, grocery stores, UK, United Kingdom, WRAP, FareShare, Courtauld 2025

WRAP’s study delved into how waste occurs in manufacturing and grocery stores to spur companies to action. WRAP found that out of 11 manufacturing sub-sectors, five are the worst offenders. Dairy, meat and fish, shelf-stable foods, vegetable and fruit processing, and bakery and cereal products account for close to 80 percent of “avoidable food waste in manufacturing,” according to The Guardian.

Related: 6 Meal planning tips to reduce food waste

WRAP Director Dr. Richard Swannell said, “Through a combination of prevention, redistribution to people and diversion to animal feed, the grocery supply chain could, in the next 10 years, almost halve its avoidable food waste from 2009, when we first started work in this area.”

UK charity FareShare said the study supports their call to redistribute extra food to those in need, but they think there is far more food out there being wasted. As opposed to WRAP’s figure of 270,000 metric tons, FareShare believes that 400,000 metric tons of food could be given to food banks and other organizations for the hungry.

WRAP is behind the Courtauld Commitment 2025, which calls upon food companies and consumers to reduce waste. Numerous companies have signed the pledge, including giants like Unilever and Tesco. The commitment aims to reduce food waste in the UK by 20 percent. WRAP hopes to accomplish the goal in a number of ways – from educating consumers on how to use or donate extra food to designing products differently so they don’t use up as many resources.

+ Waste and Resources Action Programme

Via The Guardian

Images via Wikimedia Commons (1,2)