UK parliament looks to cut €19 billion from national food waste bill

A new study into reducing the volume of food wasted has been initiated by the UK parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee.

Launching the survey on 11 July the legislators report that around 8 million tonnes of products are lost across the food distribution chain every year. It goes on to suggest that 60% of this is avoidable and could save the UK economy £16 billion (€19.1 billion) a year.

There is now a three-month comment period for interested parties to submit solutions to the committee. It will consider all options including ‘recycling and recovery, and improved packaging and labelling.’

One UK packaging firm that is keen to participate is Yorkshire-headquartered Linpac. The company’s director of marketing and innovation Helene Roberts says: ‘Food packaging should be seen as a green technology. It not only extends the shelf life of food products, but also addresses waste-related portion control issues by allowing consumers to visibly see the contents and make an informed choice about the product contained within.

‘In the context of overall sustainability, it is evident that, contrary to popular misconception, packaging should be regarded as part of the solution, not part of the problem.’

The role packaging can increasingly play in minimising food waste was highlighted in the recent Smithers Pira report Ten-Year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Sustainable Packaging to 2026. This ranked the greater deployment of solutions like modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) as the fourth most significant across the next decade.

The EFRA investigation is limited to England, and the survey component of the committee’s work on food waste will close on 13 September. Cutting food waste is also a strategic policy for the European Union; however the decision in June for the UK to leave the bloc means it will no longer be a full participant.

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.