Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted by the UK food industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat. Our work addresses these two issues by redistributing food industry surplus, which would otherwise go to waste, to the people who need it most. Find facts and figures on food waste and hunger in the UK below.
This represents 1 in 10 of the UK’s population.
2m tonnes of food wasted across the food industry each year is good-to-eat when it’s discarded.
Meanwhile, 7m people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat (5m adults and 2m children). That’s up by 2m as a result of the pandemic, (according to government figures and the Food Foundation.
That 2m tonnes of good-to-eat wasted food would make the equivalent of 1.3bn meals – enough to feed everyone in food poverty for half the year (more than 180 meals each).
By “food industry” we mean all businesses involved in the supply of food. It includes everyone from farmers and growers to manufacturers and processors to wholesalers, retailers and food service companies.
That’s enough for 1.3 billion meals
We call food that isn’t going to be sold, but which is still edible, surplus food. Food becomes surplus for simple reasons such as over-production, labelling errors or short shelf-life. Surplus food occurs everywhere in the supply chain from field through to fork. Here’s a breakdown of where it occurs and how much:
It is a legal requirement for UK companies to operate according to these principles
The waste hierarchy sets out five steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to their environmental impact. It states that surplus food should be used to feed people first before it is sent to animal feed or energy.