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Food Waste Action Week calls on organisations to get involved

Love Food Hate Waste has announced the first corporate donors for next year’s Food Waste Action Week, with Aldi, Ocado, Danone, Dunbia and Sodexo being the first companies to put their names to the campaign.

The charity states that it is eager to involve more organisations in order to broaden the impact of the campaign, utilising their customer and membership channels to spread the message of food waste reduction. Love Food Hate Waste is also encouraging companies to donate and put their financial stamp on the cause.

Food Waste Action WeekFood Waste Action Week will, according to the charity, target the ‘most wasted foods’, instilling positive behaviours in order to help the general public avoid common triggers that can lead to produce ending up as refuse. The campaign will engage particularly with those between the ages of 18-34, as the organisation cites this category as most amenable to significant life changes – such as having children – that are considered common triggers for waste. The campaign will also target school children, with the distribution of educational packs to academic institutions.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), responsible for the Love Food Hate Waste brand, has seen its behaviour change unit develop and test a series of nudge interventions, tasked with directing the general public towards key food waste prevention behaviours. In the run-up to the campaign, the body is seeking to trial a number of these nudge interventions within real-world scenarios in preparation for its Week of Action.

Beyond this, Food Waste Action Week will include the hospitality and foodservice sectors, with many businesses and organisations demonstrating their support by engaging in WRAP’s Guardians of Grub industry campaign.

Food waste in figures

Throughout the past year, Love Food Hate Waste conducted a series of surveys that showed, across consecutive lockdowns, levels of food waste initially fell, before plateauing then rising again once restrictions were lifted. This year’s Food Waste Action Week underlined the rise in self-reported refuse, coinciding with the publication of the UNEP Food Waste Index Report.

WRAP estimates that approximately half a billion tonnes of food are disposed of globally each year. Whilst the amount of food waste has declined in recent years within the UK, as a nation, it is still responsible for 6.6 million tonnes of refuse per annum.

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), WRAP also published a report revealing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced within the UK’s food system. It found that the equivalent of 35 per cent of the country’s total GHG emissions arose from the industries responsible for feeding the population, with food waste contributing 23 per cent to this figure.

Sarah Clayton, Head of Citizen Behaviour Change at WRAP, commented: “Our first Food Waste Action Week was an incredible success with almost half of people who came across messaging changing their behaviour as a result – so we’re confident we have a winning formula. But year two has new pressures.

“In 2022 we must hit home harder because our data shows that with the easing of lockdown household food waste began to rise again as people fell back into old habits. It’s imperative that we drive home the message that wasting food feeds climate change, and business support and trade body involvement is crucial in channelling that message wide-scale, so we’re keen to speak with more organisations about becoming donors and supporting Food Waste Action Week 2022.”

Ben Elliot, Government Food Waste and Surplus Champion, said: “Chucking good food away is a waste of resources, energy and water used to produce and store that food – and it, therefore, has a huge carbon footprint.

“Food Waste Action Week was enormously successful this year in helping to raise awareness about the impact of food waste on our planet. But we still have further to go, which is why we need more organisations to get on board for 2022 and encourage simple behaviours that prevent good food being thrown away needlessly.”