Opportunities, challenges and trade-offs with decreasing avoidable food waste in the UK
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The Author(s) 2021. Around 6 million tonnes of edible food are being wasted (post-farm gate) in the UK each year. This fraction of edible wasted food is known as avoidable food waste. In a circular economy food is a valuable resource that must be captured at all stages of the food supply chain and, where possible, redistributed for consumption. This can prevent avoidable food waste generation, and dissipation of food’s multidimensional value that spans environmental, economic, social, technical and political/organisational impacts. While the importance and benefits of surplus food redistribution have been well documented in the global literature, there are still barriers that prevent perfectly edible food from being wasted. This study looks at the main stages of the food supply chain, and amasses the opportunities, challenges and trade-offs associated with surplus food redistribution to the UK economy. It highlights points in the food system where interventions can be made, to improve food’s circularity and sustainability potential. Stakeholder interrelations, regulatory and socio-economic aspects are discussed in relation to their influence on decreasing avoidable food waste. The main output from this work is a diagrammatic depiction of where challenges and trade-offs occur along the food supply chain, and how policy and socio-economic reforms are needed to maximise avoidable food waste prevention, and the surplus avoidable food redistribution in the food supply chain for social benefit.
- Center for Sustainable Development Research [121 items ]