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WRAP Surplus Food Redistribution: Data shows scheme’s increasing success

Climate NGO WRAP has published the latest numbers from its anti-food waste programme, which sends meals that would otherwise have been binned to people who need them.

red and green plastic pack

For 2022, the project saw 27% year-on-year growth, with 170,000 tonnes of food redistributed in the UK alone, equivalent to 70million more meals compared with the previous 12 months. 

All types of food saw a rise in redistribution, but chilled and frozen experienced the biggest increase, at 34% and 20%. Overall, enough for 400million meals was sent out through the scheme last year, worth £590million. 

WRAP cooperates with redistribution organisations across the UK, including charitable and commercial channels. Respectively, these account for 70% and 30% of the overall sector, and both showed continued growth. Looking at sources, retail remained the largest contributor to supply, accounting for 41% of all redistributed food. This was followed by manufacturers  (32%), hospitality and food services (10%), and farming (2%). The remaining 12% came from mixed sources. 

Surplus food redistribution is a continued success story, with increased items being directed to those who need them,’ said Catherine David, Director of Behaviour Change and Business Programmes. ‘Optimising refrigeration and freezing facilities means that a wider range of food can reach people. While great strides have been made, WRAP urges the food sector to do more. Businesses working in collaboration with the redistribution industry now need to find solutions to other issues which prevent access to harder to reach surplus.’

Food waste continues to be a major cause for concern, with ties to everything from unsustainable habitat loss to emissions, plastic waste, land and air pollution, and soil degradation. While the ongoing cost-of-living crisis is keeping demand for redistributed food high , with families continuing to struggle, the concept is also at the forefront of wider circular thinking, and does not have to be solely tied to economic hardship. 

More on food waste:

#TooGoodToWaste campaign launches in bid to cut food waste

WATCH: Can we feed the world without destroying it?

Stop Food Waste Day: AI stops retailers dumping 11m kg

Image: Nico Smit

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