The Government has announced a new pilot scheme aiming to reduce food waste in the supply chain.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced £15m of additional funding to tackle food waste.
Around 43,000t of surplus food is currently redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers, with a further 100,000t of edible and readily available instead used for generating energy, anaerobic digestion or animal feed.
Mr Gove said: “Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. It harms our environment, it’s bad for business – and it’s morally indefensible.
“Every year, around 100,000 tonnes of readily available and perfectly edible food is never eaten. This has got to change.
“In the coming months we will work closely with business, charities and volunteers to deliver a new scheme to tackle this problem.”
Further action to cut food waste from all sources was being considered as part of Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which will be published later this year.
Defra was commissioning work to improve the evidence base around food waste, including understanding why more surplus food is not being redistributed.
Dr David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at WRAP said the announcement was a ‘great boost’ for the many support networks around the country.
He highlighted between 2015 and 2017 food redistributed from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses increased by 50 per cent.
“And there is the potential to increase this significantly, and to expand the range and type of foods with more fresh produce.
“Not only will this benefit people, it will also help reduce the huge environmental impact of food waste.”
Dairy UK welcomed the announcement and chief executive Dr Judith Bryans said dairy processors had taken significant steps to minimise food waste.
“As a result 85 per cent of the food waste generated on site is not wasted and has an alternative use.
“Increasingly food waste is being used for animal feed, converted into energy or redistributed, all of which ensures that the abundance of nutrients that dairy products provide do not go to waste.
“Through the Dairy Roadmap, dairy processors have committed to continue this action, pledging to reduce the food waste they produce by 30 per cent by 2025, and to take effective action to prevent consumer food waste.”