How to save Welsh households £267 million- per year by cutting food waste.

In March 2021, the Welsh Government published its ‘Beyond Recycling’ strategy to make the circular economy a reality in Wales. With a target of reducing avoidable food waste by 50% by 2025 (relative to a 2007 baseline), and by 60% by 2030, WRAP Cymru’s new report Welsh Food Waste Routemap details the key interventions that could deliver reductions in food waste across the entire supply chain towards these ambitious targets.

This ambitious approach could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 650 thousand tonnes CO2e, realise monetary savings of over £800 million – with more than a third (£267 million) being experienced by Welsh households

Furthermore, WRAP Cymru’s modelling approach for Wales has the potential to be used as a blueprint by other countries and governments across the globe to replicate this bold move by Wales.

Claire Shrewsbury, Director WRAP, Our work shows the ambitions of the Welsh Government can be realised, but not without coordinated work across the supply chain. This means going beyond current action and taking a bolder approach. Our interventions can help Wales take significant steps towards a circular economy and benefit households. This innovative work for Wales also provides a blueprint that can be used by other governments and countries to cut GHG emissions and reduce food waste within those nations. It is possible that this report will enable a worldwide reduction in food waste and a substantial global reduction in GHG emissions”.

WRAP Cymru is advising the following key changes across business sectors: –

Manufacturing & Retail Actions

  • Waste reporting – Periodic measurement and reporting of food waste means waste streams can be identified, along with opportunities for reducing food surpluses, reuse and redistribution.
  • Manufacturing Engagement – Engaging with the large number of SME’s manufacturing food in Wales has the following benefits: raising awareness, monitoring of waste, and effective systems can be put in place to support their move towards more sustainable, low-waste companies.
  • Optimised Packaging Design – Often food is wasted because the pack sizes are too big to finish before expiration. Offering smaller packaging sizes has the potential to reduce waste by giving people the opportunity to only buy what they need.
  • On-pack consumer information – Food packaging can be used to provide consumers with valuable information on the product. Innovative emerging technologies may allow for more dynamic labelling which can help with storage and consumption of the product and used to complement consumer focused communications.
  • Improved date labelling – Confusion over date labels is a major driver of food waste in the home. Recent WRAP research suggests that there are opportunities to reduce household food waste by removing ‘best before’ date labels from a number of products.
  • Valorisation – By reprocessing surpluses into new products for alternative markets, it can reduce waste and provide additional revenue streams. Manufacturers can valorise surpluses internally or sell/donate to third parties, potentially utilising existing networks such as the Welsh Food and Drink Directory.
  • Food redistribution – Food redistribution relates to distributing surplus edible food with or without charge. Donation of food is more common, which provides emergency food assistance to those in need and can reduce food waste whilst tackling food insecurity.

Hospitality & Food Service Actions

  • Waste reporting – Understanding where waste arises, and in what amounts, is an important step in hospitality and food service efficiency. In recent years, digital solutions have emerged for commercial kitchens to address this issue and provide staff with a better understanding of the amount of waste generated.
  • Consumer staff interventions – This is a diverse sector with a range of business types, with waste arising across the business (forecasting, preparation, consumer etc.). Engagement with the sector to encourage and educate buying, storage, preparation and serving best practices is one option. WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign provides tools and resources to support the sector, encouraging businesses to engage with these tools could help them.
  • Business food waste recycling – Businesses generating more than 5kg food waste per week will soon be required to present it for separate collection, like the requirements on businesses in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The act of separating waste can be eye opening for employees, especially if the waste generation is made highly visible.

Household Actions

  • Further food waste recycling – Wales already has a nearly universal food waste collection and a world leading recycling service, so many citizens may have already experienced this impact. This may be one of the reasons for Wales having lower food waste levels than the rest of the UK. However, participation and recycling rates still have scope for further improvement.
  • Consumer awareness campaigns – Consumer awareness campaigns are designed to educate the public at scale. Food waste campaigns inform consumers about the impacts of food waste and can help prevent specific behaviours that lead to food waste.
  • Consumer behaviour and upskilling interventions – more engaging interventions and coaching could help to improve behaviours and food skills, empowering people to manage their food more effectively.

Key Resources


Related posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.