Tesco loose veg

One reason for a rise in retail waste has been well-intentioned efforts to reduce plastic

There’s plenty to celebrate in Wrap’s Courtauld 2025 progress report: slashing 500,000 tonnes of waste in three years is a big achievement.

But the report highlights several concerns. Among them, retail waste has actually gone up, albeit a small part of the overall picture. One reason has been well-intentioned efforts to reduce plastic. This does not mean efforts to have more loose food should stop, but it highlights the need for evidence-based decisions on what can be competing environmental concerns. Buying whole crops also had negative consequences for food waste, despite being for the right reasons.

Far more black and white, however, is the report’s warning: unless 500 major food companies commit to more transparency on reporting, its targets may be missed.

Last year’s Food Waste Roadmap should have shamed companies for their lack of uptake, but it seems many still do not get the message. They will have only themselves to blame if the government brings in draconian new reporting rules, as some expect, within the next few weeks.