Buyers don't track food waste because climate link 'not clear'

26 November 2021

Three-quarters (74%) of procurement bosses are not tracking food waste because it’s link to climate change is “not cutting through”.

A survey of 282 procurement and supply chain managers by food services and management company Sodexo found only 26% prioritised food waste as a means to cut carbon emissions.

In a report Sodexo said the link between food waste and carbon emissions “has yet to sufficiently cut through”. 

However, 93% of respondents said they were considering changing their procurement criteria to reduce food waste in the next 12 months, with a similar proportion (94%) saying they would be tracking food waste by 2025.

Sodexo, which has launched a campaign Appetite for Action urging organisations to cut food waste by 50% by 2030, said it had a target to halve food waste by 2025.

Sean Haley, chairman at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Food waste is a problem long before consumers scrape leftovers off their plate. There is currently wastage at every stage of the food system from farm to fork – this requires urgent intervention.

“While tackling food waste alone is not the silver bullet, it is a key component of our net zero ambition, enabling us to live up to our broader purpose of continuing to support and improve the communities in which we live, work and serve.”

Figures from software company Balloon One show 4.8m tonnes of food are wasted in the UK supply chain every year.

Craig Powell, managing director at Balloon One, blamed waste on “inefficient supply chains”.

He said: “Most of our food waste can easily be avoided and is largely due to an inefficient supply chain holding things up and wasting valuable time. And, when it comes to perishable items like food, time is of the essence at every stage.”

Balloon One recommended businesses monitor supply chains, automate processes and improve inventory management to reduce food waste.

“The true cost of food waste in the supply chain really is shocking,” Powell said.

In January waste charity WRAP said there had been a 4% reduction in food waste in the supply chain, and a 7% reduction in food waste per person in the UK between 2015 and 2018. 

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