Newly published guidance expanding the reach of the UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap provides growers with advice on how to best measure food surplus and waste on farms to identify the causes and help inform where action is needed.
The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Grower Guidance includes two how-to guides and dedicated tools for in-field measurement. WRAP, the body which developed the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap with IGD, designed the new resources to help growers apply the principles of Target-Measure-Act to their operations at this key stage in the food supply chain.
“Reducing food surplus and waste is a huge opportunity for the sector. We estimate that around 3.6 million tonnes of food either goes to waste on farm each year or is surplus to requirement,” said Peter Maddox, WRAP director, in a statement. “That’s a potential £1.2 billion loss to the sector—equivalent to seven percent of the total food harvest.”
“Measuring food surplus and waste is the first step to tackling the problem, and our guides will show where action is needed on farm—whatever the scale of production or crop type, and whether hand or machine-harvested,” he added. “They are intuitive to use and set out the actions necessary to measure consistently to make comparisons over time, and between growers. I am delighted to have had the involvement of so many influential sector bodies in developing these guides.”
Earlier crop-specific assessments by WRAP highlighted the potential that widescale measuring provides to help tackle food waste. The organization found that around 19 percent of all lettuces went unharvested in 2015, with 38,000 tonnes lost across the sector—worth £7million. This varied significantly between growers, with a range from 7 to 47 percent of production ending up as waste.
The resources were developed following calls from agricultural businesses for practical guidance tailored to the needs of growers and are free to download and use from the WRAP website. They were developed with support from Food Waste Reduction Roadmap businesses and the Courtauld 2025 Fresh Produce Working Group, which convenes stakeholders from across the supply chain.
WRAP stated it hopes the Roadmap Grower Guidance will encourage measuring to become a common practice on farms, helping growers to increase productivity and realize financial savings. WRAP also developed and manages an online Food Surplus Network resource for farmers to provide summary information and contact details for marketplaces and outlets for surplus food trading. Additionally, the organization developed a library of business case studies showing how to achieve food waste savings.