Products of Change


Thu 16 Nov 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

Tesco, McCain Foods and others report food surplus and waste data for first time

Global consumer goods companies including Tesco, McCain Foods and other leading members of the Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Coalition are reporting on their baseline food surplus and waste data for the first time. The aim of the report – contributed to by 16 members of the Coalition – is to increase transparency and be at the forefront of action to reduce food waste and loss. Based on 2021 data compiled by WRAP and commissioned by the Coalition, the report “marks the next significant step” in the industry’s journey to effective reporting and greater transparency on progress. The baseline is part of the Coalition’s ambition to halve food waste in their business by 2030, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 12. It sets out to do so by halving per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. At the launch of the Coalition in 2020, members chose to focus on publicly reporting food waste and loss, aligned with guidance from Champions 12.3. Public reporting increases transparency and accountability and works to build consumer trust as well as sets an example to the wider industry. Gathering quantitative data on the total tonnes of food waste arising in both retailer and manufacturer cohorts, treatment and disposal routes for food waste, and the amount of food redistributed to people or animal feed, the report has found a total food waste across the cohort was 2.12 million tonnes, which was made up of nearly 929,000 tonnes of retailer food waste, and 1.19 million tonnes coming from the manufacturer side. Currently, around one-third of all the food produced globally doesn’t get eaten each year – equating to 1.3 billion tonnes. Understanding progress and being transparent is a critical way to reduce food loss and waste. The Food Waste Coalition, led by 21 of the world’s major food companies, is already working to reduce waste by focusing on three priority actions. These key projects include: The 10x20x30 Initiative – which targets at least 10 of the world’s largest food retailers and providers to follow the ‘Target-Measure-Act’ approach and engage 20 of their priority suppliers to do the same. Engagement on upstream losses – to address food loss at the post-harvest level, by engaging with their suppliers on collaborative, innovative, and effective food loss prevention strategies. #TooGoodToWaste consumer engagement campaign – launched in September 2023, the campaign supports food industry members to raise awareness, inform and educate, and help consumers reduce household food waste. “The scale of the problem of food loss and waste to our society, economy, and planet can be difficult to comprehend. Having this new Coalition baseline by which to measure our progress on food loss and waste each year will not only help us understand just how much work remains to be done, but will help set a clear pathway forwards for action,” said Max Kouene, president and ceo, McCain Foods. “Since the creation of our Coalition in 2020, we have learned how to target, measure, and act, and we now feel able to help other manufacturers and retailers across the industry do the same.”