Retail sector losing over £6bn through supply chain waste

NEW RESEARCH from WRAP reveals that the UK grocery retail sector could be losing as much as £6.9bn as a result of food and packaging waste in the supply chain.


The new figures show that an estimated 7% of the value of food and drink sales to households, money which could be used to increase exports or investment to help individual businesses and the economy to grow. By focusing on the opportunities for improving waste prevention, businesses can add the savings benefit straight to their bottom line.


WRAP estimates that there is 6.5 metric tonnes (Mt) of waste arising in the grocery retail supply chain.


From this figure, 3.9 Mt arises from food and drink manufacturers, and the majority of this is food. Retailer’s main waste comes from packaging which, in total, accounts for around 1.2 Mt.


Waste from across the supply chain was examined to see how waste is managed, where food is being redistributed to and where it is used as an ingredient in animal feed. The report also assessed other materials arising from the production of food, such as packaging.


A supply chain target was introduced into the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2; WRAP’s voluntary agreement which aims to assess and improve the environmental impact of the grocery sector. The target for reducing supply chain waste was set at 5% from 2009-2012, and a number of major retailers such as Ocado are signed up to the commitment.


A report on the progress of supply chain targets will be published later in the year.


Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP said: “This new research from WRAP can help deliver significant benefits for businesses and the environment. Armed with this knowledge, businesses, and the supply chain as a whole, can more readily identify where problems are arising, enabling them to find the solutions to reduce their waste and make large financial and environmental savings.”


Richard Swannell is to be interviewed on FootprintChannel: Waste – A moving brief – 19th November 10.00 am | Registration Details to be announced Friday 18th October