FareShare encourages a level playing field for food disposal

8th September 2015


Tuesday 8 September 2015: The Food Waste (Reduction) Ten-Minute Rule Bill, introduced in the Commons by Kerry McCarthy MP tomorrow, highlights the huge problem of food waste and calls for solutions to reduce it so food goes to people first.

The Bill calls on supermarkets to do more – but we must recognise that the majority of food waste occurs further up the supply chain, often well before it gets to supermarket shelves. The large supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – already work with FareShare to redistribute good surplus food; and they have also voluntarily put into place national programmes to do even more.

Instead of surplus food being used to feed people, many food manufacturers, processors and suppliers dispose of that food via anaerobic digestion (AD) or provide it for animal feed. Yet those same manufacturers and suppliers tell us that the costs of food disposal via these methods are cheaper than providing surplus food for charity food redistribution.

Being able to turn food waste into energy is fantastic, but while people are going hungry, edible food should not be used to feed animals or create energy.

There are currently a number of Government incentives to support AD. Whilst we support this, these same incentives do not exist for feeding people – so we’re asking the Government to bring in a level playing field and ensure that it is cheaper for food businesses to redistribute food than to throw it away.

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO, says: “This is where the Government can really make an impact to reduce the food waste mountain – acknowledge the existence of these costs, and introduce fiscal or other financial incentives for food redistribution – so the food can be saved and redistributed to vulnerable people across the country.

“Countries like France, Portugal and the US already offer a variety of financial programmes to industries in their food supply chain – so we know it can be successfully done.”

FareShare calls on the Government to adopt the following:

  • For many if not most food manufacturers and suppliers, the costs of disposing of food via anaerobic digestion or animal food is cheaper than providing food surpluses for charity food redistribution. The Government has to acknowledge the existence of these comparative costs
  • Re-clarify existing Government policy that the food use or food waste hierarchy should be respected
  • To help achieve these two points, there needs to be a level playing field which may include fiscal and financial incentives to help ensure food is kept as food and is provided for charity redistribution rather than being disposed of via alternative routes.



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