Food Waste Action Week – organisations urged to join forces to fight food waste

Food waste brand Love Food Hate Waste is delighted to announce the first corporate donors for next year’s Food Waste Action Week (Monday 7th to Sunday 13th March), along with other leading retailers, manufacturers and providers.

Also involved are high-street retailer Aldi, home food delivery company Ocado Retail, food manufacturers Danone and Dunbia and food service provider Sodexo, the first to put their names to the campaign.

Love Food Hate Waste is keen to involve many more organisations to broaden the impact the Week will have through their customer and membership channels and is encouraging more to donate and put their stamp on this important environmental Week of action.

Sarah Clayton, Head of Citizen Behaviour Change at WRAP, said “Our first Food Waste Action Week was an incredible success with almost half of people who came across messaging changing their behaviour as a result - so we’re confident we have a winning formula. But year two has new pressures. In 2022 we must hit home harder because our data shows that with the easing of lockdown household food waste began to rise again as people fell back into old habits. It’s imperative that we drive home the message that wasting food feeds climate change, and business support and trade body involvement is crucial in channelling that message widescale, so we’re keen to speak with more organisations about becoming donors and supporting Food Waste Action Week 2022.”

The theme of the Food Waste Action Week 2022 is being developed and like last year will involve a well-known public figure – to be announced – who will help convey the message that Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change and inspire the public, businesses and social groups across the UK to act on food waste. They will follow in the footsteps of chef, tv personality and author Nadia Hussain who was the figurehead for the inaugural Food Waste Action Week, 2021.

2022 will focus on the most wasted foods and instil positive behaviours to help people avoid common triggers that can lead to food going to waste. It will engage with UK residents aged 18 to 44, and particularly those between the ages of 18-34 who can experience the most significant life changes such as having children and leaving home for the first time, that are common triggers for waste. The Week will also target school age children with the release of an education pack for schools.

WRAP’s behaviour change unit has developed and tested a series of nudge interventions to help direct citizens towards key food waste prevention behaviours. The charity is now keen to spend the time in the run up to Food Waste Action Week 2022 working with partners to trial a number of these new interventions in real world scenarios – in preparation for the Week of Action, when the results are expected to be published.

Food Waste Action Week will include the hospitality and food service sector, with many businesses and organisations engaged by supporting WRAP’s Guardians of Grub industry campaign.

The need for speed

During 2021, Love Food Hate Waste conducted a series of lockdown surveys that showed that food waste levels initially fell, then plateaued and eventually rose again across the period the UK went into restricted movement, and reopened. This rise in self-reported food waste was underlined during Food Waste Action Week 2021 with the publication of the WRAP and UNEP Food Waste Index Report. This ground-breaking research showed for the first time that household food waste is a reality for both rich- and middle- income nations and not the preserve of more affluent countries alone, as was previously thought.

It is currently estimated that around half a billion tonnes of food is thrown away from homes around the world, every year. In the UK, household food waste fell in recent years and hovers around 6.6 million tonnes of food waste, with 4.5 million tonnes food that could have been eaten.

Ahead of COP26, WRAP – the charity behind Love Food Hate Waste – also published a landmark report detailing for the first time the greenhouse gas emissions produced to feed the UK through our food system. This found that the equivalent to 35% of the UK’s total GHG emissions arise from feeding people in the UK - with food waste contributing 23% to that figure.