Tesco and Marks and Spencer are helping to tackle an issue that rose up the global agenda this year

Food waste is what happens when supply exceeds need. “Every day, all of us are careful not to waste what we attribute value to, and yet we waste a lot of food,” observes Guido Barilla, chairman of the world’s largest pasta maker, Barilla. “This is not only due to logistics problems. The reason should be sought in a cultural change that has relegated a primary good, as food, to the role of a generic commodity.”

When Barilla examined its pasta supply chain it found less than 2% wasted in farming and production; but consumers wasted 12% of what they cooked.

In 2016, there has been a raft of reports, commitments, and supply chain investigations, as well as some innovative means of putting waste to good use.  But there are no reliable figures for farm waste, and a methodology for establishing manufacturing waste levels is an evolving art.

UK consumers are Europe’s most wasteful, but they and retailers are getting the message. The annual report from Wrap, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, suggests that avoidable household waste fell 21% between 2007 and 2012. So is this because less food is being bought? There’s no data. UK households were still throwing away 4.2...

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food waste  sustainable agriculture  SDGs  WRAP 

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