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Food waste in primary production

The first indication of the scale of food waste in UK primary production has been measured by WRAP for two key crops: strawberries and lettuces[3].

The research highlights the benefits of tackling food waste in primary production. For the two sectors assessed, WRAP estimated that £30 million of crops ended up as waste in the UK in 2015.

This resulted from a complex set of factors, with forecasting and product specifications, and pest and disease damage, being cited most frequently.

The research shows a considerable variation in the results between growers. Weather and site-specific factors explain some of this, but it also highlights the value in supporting greater uptake of best practice.

Pioneering projects are now underway within Courtauld 2025 (a voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system – from producer to consumer – to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable) in response to this evidence, targeting improvements in business performance and resource efficiency, whilst combatting food waste.

These whole supply chain projects involve farmers and growers, fresh produce, hospitality and food service, and retail companies. The focus is on priority crops including soft fruit, potatoes, root vegetables and salad.

WRAP plans to extend the evidence for strawberries and lettuces to encompass other sectors. It is working with a broad group of industry representatives from across the UK to identify how this can best be achieved.



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