The Waste and Resources Action Proggramme (WRAP) has expanded the UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap to focus on farms.
The newly published guidance provides growers with advice on how best to measure food surplus and waste on farms to identify the causes and help inform where action is needed.
The ‘Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Grower Guidance’ was developed in collaboration with leading trade bodies and industry organisations. It includes two practical ‘how-to’ guides and dedicated tools for in-field measurement.
WRAP, the body which developed the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap with IGD, designed the new resources to help growers apply the principles of Target-Measure-Act to their operations at this key stage in the food supply chain.
“Reducing food surplus and waste is a huge opportunity for the [farm] sector,” said WRAP Director Peter Maddox.
“We estimate that around 3.6 million tonnes of food either goes to waste on farm each year, or is surplus to requirement. That’s a potential £1.2 billion loss to the sector – equivalent to seven per cent of the total food harvest.
“Measuring food surplus and waste is the first step to tackling the problem, and our guides will show where action is needed on farm – whatever the scale of production or crop type, and whether hand or machine-harvested.
“They are intuitive to use and set out the actions necessary to measure consistently to make comparisons over time, and between growers. I am delighted to have had the involvement of so many influential sector bodies in developing these guides.”
Earlier crop-specific assessments by WRAP highlighted the potential that widescale measuring provides to help tackle food waste.
The organisation found that around 19% of all lettuces went unharvested in 2015, with 38,000 tonnes lost across the sector – worth £7 million. This varied significantly between growers, with a range from 7% to 47% of production ending up as waste.
Supporting growers to better measure and share their waste data can help identify opportunities and offers huge potential to improve productivity.
The resources were developed following calls from agricultural businesses for practical guidance tailored to the needs of growers and are free to download and use from the WRAP website.
They were developed with support from Food Waste Reduction Roadmap businesses and the Courtauld 2025 Fresh Produce Working Group; which convenes stakeholders from across the supply chain.