IGD BRINGS INDUSTRY TOGETHER TO TACKLE FOOD SURPLUS IN UK

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With 16% of adults (one in six people) across England, Wales and Northern Ireland experiencing food insecurity, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) has launched a new guide to help manufacturers increase their redistribution of surplus food.

Maximising Food Surplus Redistribution: A Guide For Food Manufacturing Businesses, is the first step in a new programme of work on redistribution from the Institute of Grocery Distribution. The organisation said it is mobilising the industry to take collective action on this critical issue and urgently accelerate the amount of surplus food being redistributed.

Susan Barratt, IGD’s Chief Executive, said the organisation strives to make a positive difference to society by working in partnership with industry to address the economic, social and environmental issues that matter. 

With its ability to convene stakeholders from across the whole food and consumer goods system, IGD has joined forces with Ben Elliot, Food Surplus and Waste Champion for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and WRAP to launch the guide, which will be followed by the creation of a new online redistribution resources hub later in the summer.

Barratt said: “Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one in six people are experiencing food insecurity. A range of organisations, including charities and community groups, help this group meet their needs for food and provide other vital services for vulnerable members of society; and the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a huge growth in the need for food to reach these organisations.

“Our industry has done a fabulous job supporting local charities and communities in this mission, but there is more we can do together and having spoken to lots of organisations, I know there is an appetite to drive a step change in the level of surplus food that is redistributed.”

Barratt added: “Driving efficient supply chains and reducing waste is a priority for business, as it makes good financial sense and helps reduce the impact on the planet. However, most supply chains will produce an element of food surplus. 

“We, and the industry, are keen to ensure that this food surplus reaches those organisations that can distribute the food to those that need it most. Food waste reduction and food surplus redistribution can also play a key role in helping the food industry deliver its net zero climate change commitments. It can save businesses money, generate revenue, drive colleague engagement and build further trust and support for our industry – a compelling business case for us to get behind.”

Based on its conversations with industry partners, IGD has identified the following five stages for successfully accelerating food surplus donations in a manufacturing business:

  • Provide leadership and establish governance;
  • Identify levels and types of surplus;
  • Select redistribution partner(s); 
  • Revise processes and policies; and
  • Embed processes and continually review.

Ben Elliot, Government Food Waste Champion, said: “When you consider the love, care and passion that goes into the food we grow, produce, sell and serve – wasting this food is just wrong. Tackling food waste is an opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment, achieve our Net Zero targets and is critical to ensuring our businesses are as competitive as they can be.

“In these unprecedented times, demand for charities and community groups and the services they provide has never been higher. Ensuring all surplus food that is safe for people to eat is made available and redistributed is a key way in which we can support those most in need and ensure good food is put to good use.”

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