The government is inviting food redistribution organisations to apply for funding under a new pilot scheme to reduce food waste.
The £5m fund is open to firms that receive surplus food, with applicants asked to show how they will redistribute it to those who have a need.
It’s the first part of a £15m scheme announced last year by the Environment Secretary to specifically address surplus food from retail and manufacturing.
Currently around 43,000 tonnes of surplus food is redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers every year. It is estimated a further 100,000 tonnes of food – equating to 250 million meals a year – is edible and readily available but goes uneaten. Instead, this food is currently sent away for generating energy from waste, anaerobic digestion, or animal feed.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: ‘It is absolutely right that we end the scandal of food waste and this substantial funding will help that happen.
‘We want to build on the great work already being done by businesses, charities and volunteers. Perfectly good food should be on people’s plates and not unnecessarily discarded.’
Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP, welcomed the fund, saying it will help to accelerate the redistribution of surplus food from retailers and food manufacturers.
‘It builds on the great work in this area in recent years which has seen millions of meals’ worth of food saved from waste, and which has benefited both society and the environment. It also supports the ambitions of Courtauld 2025 and the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap launched last year.’
The government recently appointed philanthropist Ben Elliot as its Food Surplus and Waste Champion to help promote awareness of the issue and help drive down food waste.
He said the fund will ‘turbocharge’ efforts to reduce the ‘frankly unforgivable’ amount of food which goes to waste.