Research undertaken by WRAP has demonstrated how retailers could overcome challenges to redistributing surplus food and how this could lead to benefits for those who need it.
The report, The Food Connection Programme, brought together two initiatives on food redistribution and the first shows that there is potential for supermarkets to redistribute their excess food at store level.
While the new case studies and guiding principles from the Food Redistribution Industry Working Group (IWG) provide information and opportunity for action across the supply chain.
The research found that while tonnages of surplus food at store level are small in comparison to the whole supply chain, the volumes are sufficient to deliver real benefit to those who need it. The report also highlights the barriers to rolling our redistribution from stores on a nationwide scale are still significant due to current capacity and resource limitations within both charity and retailer processes.
WRAP worked with food waste charities FareShare and FoodCycle as well as Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Waitrose on the study.
The IWG brought together retailers, manufacturers, wholesales, charities and other industry bodies.
As a result of these measures, relationships across sectors have been brokered, stores and charities have been matched service level agreements have been developed, and tools and resources have been created for charities and retailers to use to monitor, record and troubleshoot.
WRAP head of food & drink Andy Dawe said: “Both the IWG and the trials were intended to build on the current good practice and better understand the challenges, and possible solutions, to make redistribution a more viable option for all involved.
“By drawing on the experiences and expertise of both the voluntary and business sectors, we now have a better understanding of the surpluses available at store level and are closer to overcoming some of the barriers to redistribution, both at store level and across the supply chain.
“The working group has laid the foundations which the whole sector can build upon. In order to realise many food waste prevention opportunities we now need to see more collaboration within the industry, and with charities, to expand on this good work and make more of this valuable food available to those that need it.”
Tesco community director Greg Sage said: “We want to ensure that our surplus food goes to helping feed people in need. We are already working in partnership with FareShare on our neighbourhood food collections and donations of surplus fresh food from our distribution centres and online grocery stores. We were delighted to have been involved in the WRAP trial. We would like to extend this work in the coming year, and we are working closely with Fareshare and FoodCycle to achieve that.”
To see the report, visit http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/foodredistribution