Network Launched To Cut Food Waste Across Supply Chain

A new £500,000 network has been set up to link researchers with those in the industry to tackle the problem head on right across the entire supply chain.

9, a:1:{i:0;s:8:”defaults”;}, surface grinding equipment, A new £500,000 network has been set up to link researchers with those in the industry to tackle the problem head on right across the entire supply chain., In a bid to address the issue of food waste in the UK, a new £500,000 network has been set up to link researchers with those in the industry to tackle the problem head on right across the entire supply chain.

Led by professors Leon Terry from Cranfield University and Carol Wagstaff from the University of Reading, the network will commission a vast range of different projects, with researchers from all over the country able to apply for funds to develop research ideas and solutions.

Some 51 per cent of all food waste in this country takes place before it reaches consumers, whether that’s during agriculture, after the harvest, distribution or processing. Taking the world as a whole, more than a third of all food produced across the entire food chain is wasted.

A big proportion of this food loss has to do with the physiology of the crops themselves, as well as poor control of post-harvest biology and the control systems that are in place and how they’re applied.

“Cranfield University has a long history of reducing postharvest food losses and we are delighted to be leading this network with UKRI and University of Reading. The network will allow us to better harness our national scientific talent to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste and reduce food losses,” Mr Terry said.

Research from WRAP and estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that $984 billion is lost to the economy globally each year because of food loss and waste.

This equates to £20 billion worth of food waste in the UK each year, or £810 worth of food thrown in the bin by the average family in the UK annually.

But work is being done to address the situation and figures published in November last year by WRAP show that a quarter of all pre-packed unprepared fresh produce now comes with no date label, while the shelf life of other produce – such as milk – has been increased.

Almost all the product assessed had the right home storage advice included, but more action was needed in certain areas.

For example, there was little evidence of retailers implementing guidance to remove open life statements on packets. Hard cheese has an average available life of 64 days, but 90 per cent of packs advise people to use them within five to seven days of opening.

Guidance has now been updated on applying date labels for fresh produce. Offering fruit and veg loose gives people the chance to take what they need and the absence of a Best Before date can help reduce waste by encouraging customers to use their own judgement.

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