To help SMEs in the food sector cut their waste, the Food Innovation Centre has produced a series of factsheets highlighting the actions businesses can take to tackle the problem.

One third of all food produced globally ends up as waste, which equates to millions of tonnes of food wasted around the world every year.

The Food Innovation Centre, based at the University of Nottingham, has published the Food Waste Management and Valorisation factsheet, listing the five key areas for businesses to target and five key actions to combat food waste.

Five actions to take are:

  • Measure waste to understand how much is being produced
  • Cost it appropriately
  • Set a target for waste reduction
  • Take action on the highest waste areas
  • Embed a culture of waste prevention

Five areas to target are:

  • Improve processes and systems
  • Implement Lean / Continuous Improvement (CI) type processes
  • Collaborate with customers and the supply chain
  • Optimise packaging to reduce waste
  • Redistribute surplus food

Richard Worrall, who runs the Driving Research and Innovation project at the Food Innovation Centre, said: “The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that food waste causes a global economic, environmental and social cost of $2.6 trillion a year and is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“In the UK, WRAP estimates that annual food waste from UK households, hospitality and food services, food manufacturers, retail and wholesale sectors totals around 9.5 million tonnes and has a value of over £19 billion a year. It’s associated with more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases emissions.

“Food waste is a huge issue and it’s something that the Food Innovation Centre is keen to help reduce. We’ve worked on a number of projects with SMEs to help them cut their waste or to make new products from by-products that would otherwise have gone to waste.”

More information can be found on the factsheet, available from the Food Innovation Centre’s website.