French legislation on food redistribution raises the question: What is happening in the UK?
22nd May 2015
22nd May 2015
[half] Friday 22nd May 2015:
The new law in France, voted unanimously in the French Parliament yesterday, which forces supermarkets to donate their surplus food to charity is an interesting development in the debate around food waste.
At FareShare, we have 20 years experience of working with the food industry to divert good food away from waste to community projects supporting vulnerable people.
FareShare already works with retailers to redistribute good food from their supply chain to charities supporting people in need. Our experience tells us that food surplus is not solely a supermarket issue. In fact, the majority of surplus food is further up the supply chain.
Through close collaboration between suppliers, logistics partners and FareShare, the supermarkets play an important role in introducing operational process that diverts surplus products for redistribution. Anticipating surplus products in the supply chain means that it can be managed more effectively and diverted immediately, rather than continuing further along the supply chain. [/half]
There is a significant difference between the extent to which food is being redistributed in France. The French food industry, Government and associated charities have already made huge inroads in tapping food further up the supply chain, amongst manufacturers, where the majority of surplus occurs.
While Government intervention can be a positive step in trying to achieve waste minimisation and a fairer system that promotes surplus redistribution in the food industry, we believe that the best results are obtained when food companies realise the potential and the benefits linked to redistribution.
In order to successfully divert surplus food from waste, food companies across the whole supply chain must establish processes and systems that anticipate and identify surplus food within their operations and make it available for charities such as FareShare. This approach brings about significant environmental, social and economic benefits.
At FareShare, we have been working hard on a step-by step approach that will guide food companies to establish these processes. This toolkit will be launched on the 17th June at FareShare’s Surplus Food Summit, taking place in Westminster, London. The event is supported by the British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation and Fresh Produce Consortium and aims to share leading best practice to encourage the whole of the industry to do the right thing with their surplus food.
The UK Government can play a significant role in ensuring that food redistribution is seen as an important piece of the puzzle to reduce food waste overall. We need Government to support food redistribution so that FareShare can more easily access food elsewhere in the supply chain. France currently, partly with government funding, redistributes 20 times more surplus food than the UK, – we need wide spread support in order to try and match this achievement as an ambition.