Policy Strategies to Tackle Food Waste

In late April, Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sustainable Resources convened a meeting in Parliament to discuss current and emerging issues pertaining to food waste to inform ongoing debate and policy reform activities.

Chaired by Shadow DEFRA minister Kerry McCarthy MP, the session featured a range of stakeholders across academia, business, and the third sector.

The discussion initially focussed on mandatory food waste reporting, with participants recognising the potential positive impact that mandatory food waste reporting would have in driving better redistribution practices.

Despite concerns that the costs and benefits of mandatory reporting might not be evenly distributed throughout the supply chain, there was overall strong support for mandatory food waste reporting.

Participants viewed it as a step towards greater transparency and accountability in tackling food waste. They also called for collaborative efforts across sectors to address systematic issues and promote responsible waste management practices.

The need for systematic changes throughout the food supply chain to effectively tackle food waste was also stressed by attendees. Initiatives, such as date labelling and greater policy support for small businesses repurposing surplus food through actions such as tax incentives, were highlighted as potential policy levers to support change.

Local government was also repeatedly identified as key agents for change both for delivery of waste collections but also in community education and behaviour change activities – critical to driving down food that is edible and unnecessarily wasted.

Despite noting the importance of behavioural change in preventing food waste in the home, participants noted the importance of a multifaceted approach involving policy measures, community engagement, and public awareness campaigns to properly empower households to make change.

Overall, participants expressed optimism about progress in tackling food waste considering parliamentary interest, mandatory business reporting, and opportunities to connect and collaborate across stakeholders to inform the debate and find meaningful policy solutions to our food waste problem.

The session featured important contributions from:

  • Claire Shrewsbury, Director of Policy and Insights at WRAP.
  • Antony Buchan, ReLondon.
  • Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council.
  • Baroness Bakewell of Hardington-Mandeville.

For more information, please contact katy.haigh [at] policyconnect.org.uk (katy[dot]haigh[at]policyconnect[dot]org[dot]uk).