Today is International Stop Food Waste Day, which is all about educating and igniting change in consumers and businesses, in order to tackle the global food waste epidemic that we’re currently facing. According to WRAP, the government’s waste reduction body, 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK, a massive 1.1 million of which is avoidable. Furthermore, 250,000 tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible.
The need to stop food waste is clearly dire, and thanks to a WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, large food businesses including many major retailers are pledging to halve the UK’s food waste bill by 2030. Additionally, more and more brands are popping up that aim to address the issue in innovative ways. Here we list our five favourite companies that are doing just that.
On a mission to make sure good food doesn’t go to waste, FareShare take tens of thousands of tonnes of surplus food from the food industry and redistribute it across 1,500 towns and cities across the UK. In 2013 ASDA teamed up with FareShare to introduce an operational process to divert surplus products at depot level to people in need, and last year alone the charity redistributed enough food for 36.7 million meals.
When a group of tech-savvy entrepreneurs around Europe were confronted with the shocking reality of how much food gets wasted every day, they decided to join forces and created Too Good To Go in June 2016. It’s an app that allows everyone to do their bit to reduce food waste – vendors and restaurants who have perfectly good leftover food at the end of the day can sell it to other users, who pay by the app and collect it. So far, the business has created an impressive community of 576,000 ‘Waste Warriors’, who together have saved over 523,000 meals from being sent to landfill.
Innovative condiments brand Rubies in the Rubble make all their products from ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, not because they are unfit for consumption, but simply because they are the wrong shape, size or colour. Founder Jenny Costa found it unacceptable that so many people are starving in developing countries, while in wealthy countries we throw away delicious, in-date food just because it doesn’t meet retailers’ aesthetic requirements. Out of this came an idea: create chutneys, jams, and preserves from all the excess produce. The business is now an award-winning brand, stocked in supermarkets and delis across the UK.
Food Cycle is a community-focused charity that supports people who are hungry and lonely by serving tasty lunches and dinners every single day in towns and cities across the country. It targets vulnerable communities by reducing food waste, reducing food poverty and training volunteers. Everything the volunteers collect is surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste. So far, they have saved 270 tonnes of surplus food, which they have used to serve over 250,000 meals to people in need.
Social enterprise FoodCloud is a retailer app that currently helps over 7,500 charitable groups get surplus food in the UK and Ireland. Supermarkets and food stores with leftovers scan descriptions of their excess food into the app, letting local charities who are registered on the app know it’s available for collection. The company has so far helped to ensure 45 million meals have gone to people and not to waste, which equates to over 20,000 tonnes of food and over 65,000 tonnes of CO² in carbon savings.
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