The Joint Ambition for a Zero Food Waste Britain – which is supported by input from 240 organisations and builds on public polling conducted with more than 2,000 households – aims to tackle food waste at a consumer, business and policy level. (Scroll down for full report).

The Ambition, which also has the support of WRAP, is based on five core principles: –

1. Collaboration between organisations from all sectors is essential to reducing household food waste.

2. Communication should demonstrate the value of food ensuring as much as possible is eaten.

3. Awareness needs to be built on the wider environmental, social and financial impact of food.

4. Skills and knowledge need to be built so that people get maximum value from food.

5. Consistency is needed for food waste collection systems across the UK

Sustainability director for Unilever UK Charlotte Carroll said: “As a food manufacturer, we understand that more needs to be done to address avoidable food waste, especially as in the UK alone, one fifth of struggling families experience food poverty. That’s why, through our Joint Ambition, we are taking collective action to drive lasting transformational change in this area.

“With our exciting partnership with Hubbub, who are experts in food waste and behaviour change, we will be delivering a series of consumer campaigns via our much-loved brands, including Wall’s, Knorr and Hellmann’s.”

Hubbub chief executive Trewin Restorick added: “The Joint Ambition has been created following extensive consultation with organisations working across the food chain. This demonstrated a huge desire to act on food waste and the importance of collaboration.

“The Joint Ambition will provide a practical and positive way of turning this desire into action and we are delighted to be working with Unilever to make this happen.”

The first initiative under this Joint Ambition is #TravellersCheck – a campaign that discourages households from throwing away food before leaving on holiday by suggesting they ‘Freeze it, Gift it or Cook it’.

A number of companies including Talk Mobile and Responsible Travel Company have already partnered with hubbub and Unilever to promote the #TravellersCheck summer campaign and encourage holiday-goers to add a food check to their holiday planning.

The Ambition’s founders reached out to 2,000 homes across the UK to better understand the average household’s knowledge of food waste prevention.

Research conducted by Unilever and Hubbub estimated that £12m of food will be throw away due to families leaving to go on holiday. Additionally, 45% of people polled threw away food because it could not be frozen despite many being unaware that milk, ham and hard cheeses could be frozen.

These figures sit aside statistics presented by WRAP that estimate 10 megatonnes of food is wasted annually and that seven megatonnes of that figure is food and drink waste from households.

Commenting on this new initiative, David Moon, head of food sustainability at WRAP, said: The Joint Ambition highlights the need for a coordinated focus on food waste prevention, communication, skills and the recycling of unavoidable food waste. In this, it is really focused in helping households value their food and drink.

“Significantly, the Joint Ambition is also well aligned and contributes to the food waste targets and delivery programmes within our industry-wide Courtauld 2025 agreement. We therefore look forward to the Joint Ambition being achieved.”

The Joint Ambition launch comes less than a week after supermarket Asda revealed that its customers were saving an average of £57 a year by taking heed of advice to reduce food waste through a series of awareness-raising campaigns.  

Food waste is also set to be in the cultural zeitgeist later this week with the third episode of ‘War on Waste’ set to air on Thursday 28 July. The BBC series, presented by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, aims to highlight the waste generated by big consumer-focused businesses.  In the six months between filming episode two and episode three of the series, the volume of food that food redistribution charity FareShare received from retailers and food manufacturers increased by 60%.

Joint Ambition for a Zero Food Waste Britain

Alex Baldwin

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