Supply chain efficiencies would prevent 250,000 tonnes of waste, claims report

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Small changes in the supply chain could extend the product life of many foods by 24 hours, enough to prevent around 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, according to a report released by Wrap. 

Among the recommendations within the report, titled ”Reducing Food Waste By Extending Product Life”, are that all “display until” dates are removed from products, and that a standardised approach to the period in which an item is deemed safe to eat is adopted.

The charity estimates this would cut down on the 1.3 to 2.6 million tonnes of food wasted each year in the UK due to product life expiration. 

To reach its conclusions the charity researched the applicable processes within manufacturing, logistics and retail for 11 key grocery items, including sliced ham, potatoes, mince and milk. It then upscaled the data from these products to provide a broader picture of the potential impact. 

Other recommendations include a systematic challenge to buffers currently used by both manufacturers and retailers between actual product life, and that printed on a product, an attempt to improve delivery times, and a review of in store practices such as stock rotation. 

Dr Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at the charity, said: ”By implementing these simple recommendations, food manufacturers and retailers can make a big difference in the battle against food waste, without even having to change products and packaging.

“We estimate that shoppers could save upwards of £500m, and businesses could save £100m in waste prevention alone.”

The organisation has now said it will look to work with industry figures to take these recommendations forward

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