The Food Waste (Reduction) Bill was not debated as scheduled on 29 January owing to a lack of parliamentary time.
Preventing food waste at all stages in the supply chain is an important objective for the Government, which it is working on with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the food industry.
Over 90% of the food manufacturing and retailer sector have signed up to the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement to limit waste. As a result, domestic household food waste has already been reduced by 15% since 2007 and food waste in the supply chain has reduced by 8%. A separate voluntary agreement within the hospitality and food services industry was launched in 2012, which saw over 170 signatories and supporters sign up to an ambitious set of targets to reduce their waste and manage it better.
Ministers and charities have also been considering how best to prevent waste on farms. One option is to encourage retailers to agree in advance to purchase the whole crop from a specific farm or field, then decide whether each vegetable should be sold loose, processed or used in soups and sauces, based on their size and appearance. This would help ensure vegetables aren’t wasted just because they look unusual, preventing waste and giving farmers greater certainty.
The Government continues to work closely with industry to help forge closer links with redistribution charities across the whole supply chain. It is wrong that anyone should go hungry at the same time as surplus food is going to waste.
The Food Waste (Reduction) Bill is a Private Members Bill and as such is unlikely to get a second reading on 4 March as scheduled. Private Members Bills are a campaigning device: they usually do not pass into law without Government support.