Londoners reduce food they throw away by 9% with the help of pioneering food project

TRiFOCAL, the project encouraging sustainable food behaviours in London, has announced its results as the three-year initiative comes to an end. The project helped citizens in six London boroughs reduce the amount of good food thrown away by 9% between spring 2017 and spring 2019.

Delivered by WRAP, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), and Groundwork London, TRiFOCAL addressed three message areas relating to food: healthy and sustainable eating, food waste recycling, and food waste prevention.

The project has succeeded in its main objective to encourage sustainable food systems in cities by piloting a communications campaign integrating three food behaviours:

  • The prevention of food waste by changing planning, shopping, storage and meal preparation
  • The promotion of healthy and sustainable eating
  • The recycling of unavoidable food waste

These are underpinned by a number of specific targets, which have been reported in a summary report about the project:

While some of the targets have been challenging to achieve, a citizen facing campaign – Small Change, Big Difference – has succeeded in getting TRiFOCAL’s messages out to a large number of Londoners, primarily 18 to 34 year olds, helping them to change the way they buy, eat and dispose of their food. The campaign was supported by a range of stakeholders including local authorities, restaurants, large employers and community groups. TRiFOCAL engaged with all 33 London boroughs, with focused activity in 15 boroughs and in-depth evaluation conducted in six boroughs.

Peter Maddox, Director at WRAP, said: “TRiFOCAL is the first project of its kind. It has proved that combining messaging around healthy and sustainable eating with food waste prevention and recycling can deliver real impact. TRiFOCAL’s unique model has attracted attention across Europe, and we’re setting the standard in how we might tackle citizen behaviour change around sustainable food behaviours in the future.”

LWARB’s Chair – and Champion of the UN Sustainable Development Goal on food waste – Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, said: “This has been a challenging but inspiring project, creating engaging campaign content which has reached Londoners right across the capital. Working closely with 15 of London’s boroughs has also helped motivate citizens at a local level and provide them with achievable ideas on how to tackle food waste and eat more sustainably. The results are gratifying: reducing avoidable food waste by an average of 9% is a meaningful contribution towards tackling the climate change impacts of food waste and helping Londoners save money in the process.”

Lindy Kelly, Executive Director at Groundwork London, said: “It’s been inspiring to have seen so many communities across London actively play a role in TRiFOCAL’s success. We are proud to be sharing the learning, impact and resources from schools to community groups, and look forward to seeing the award-winning project replicated in more cities across the UK and Europe.” To preserve TRiFOCAL’s legacy and continue promoting the project’s aims, a resource bank has been developed to share the materials and outputs developed over the course of the project. This will also ensure that people across Europe can keep using them to achieve city-level impact. The resource bank includes an education pack for schools and teachers, the community leaders’ toolkit and a wide range of case studies on the project’s evaluation and delivery activities in London and the EU replication cities.

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