Richard Harrow, CEO of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), is urging government to highlight the role frozen can play in helping it achieve its ‘Step up to the Plate’ food waste targets.
Speaking after yesterday’s flagship symposium event in London, which was co-hosted by environment secretary Michael Gove, Harrow said he felt disappointed at the lack of emphasis on frozen as having a significant part to play in reducing food waste.
“The scale of food waste in the UK is truly shocking and I firmly believe frozen has a vital role to play in waste reduction efforts, so I had no hesitation whatsoever in signing up to ‘Step up to the Plate’,” he said.
“However, although the event featured lots of discussion about food waste and redistribution – as well as a speech by Dr Emily Shuckburgh highlighting how the eradication of food waste will have a massive impact on controlling climate change – there was hardly anything around the wider use of frozen food, which is hugely disappointing.
“Frozen has a range of brilliant benefits in terms of extending preservation and locking in nutrients, as well as enabling people to only use what they need, which in itself contributes significantly to reducing waste.
“Research* shows increasing frozen food can significantly reduce edible food waste in the supply chain, while any waste produced in frozen production occurs higher up in the supply chain and so therefore has less impact,” he adds.
“Government has woken up to the fact the UK has a huge problem that needs to be fixed but needs to start seeing frozen as a significant part of the solution. The ‘Step up to the Plate’ symposium was a great start but clearly there’s more to be done,” he concludes.
‘Step up to the Plate’, which was co-hosted by the government’s first food surplus and waste champion Ben Elliot, urged attendees to make a number of commitments to measure and reduce their own food waste while inspiring others to do the same.
Its aim is to encourage major players from the worlds of food retail and hospitality – as well as chefs and social media influencers – to ‘join together to ignite a cultural shift in how we view and treat food’.
Organisations and individuals who signed up to the ‘Step up to the Plate’ pledge have committed to reduce food waste in a number of different ways, including:
• setting an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2030 in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3
• embracing a Food Conversation week of action in November 2019 to highlight the changes we can all make
• using their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation
• changing their habits as individuals to be Food Value Champions at work and at home, buying only what they need and eating what they buy.
Mr Gove said: “Together, we must end the moral, economic and environmental scandal of food waste. The UK is showing real leadership in this area but I urge businesses to join me in signing the pledge so we can bring about real change.
“Every year, around 100,000 tonnes of readily available and perfectly edible food goes uneaten. It’s time to join together and ‘Step up to the Plate’ to stop good food going to waste.”
Richard Harrow added: “A key message coming through at the symposium was 70% of food waste happens in consumers’ homes. Frozen has the power to significantly reduce this statistic, so Government needs to focus more on frozen as part of the solution if it is to achieve its food waste targets.”