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Food Waste in U.K. Costs $39M a Year, Report Says

The U.K. food supply chain could increase efficiency and save £30m ($39.17m) a year by tackling food waste on farms, according to a report.

The report, Food Waste in Primary Production by non-profit Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), was published as part of the group's push to highlight the significant financial, environmental and efficiency benefits inherent in tackling food waste in primary production.

WRAP said the first indication of the scale of waste was measured for two key crops — strawberries and lettuce.

It found that just over 9 percent of mature strawberry crops had ended up as waste in 2015 — equivalent to 10,000 tonnes of product across the whole sector and valued at £24m ($31.33m) — mainly because they didn’t meet market requirements.

“The main causes for this were linked to product not meeting quality requirements, primarily as a result of fruit being misshapen or suffering from pest or disease-related damage,” it said.

For lettuce, WRAP found that around 19 percent of all lettuces were unharvested in 2015, with 38,000 tonnes lost across the sector worth an estimated £7m ($9.14m). Both growers and their customers cited weather related damage and head size specifications as the reason for the waste.

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