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Bananas, bread and eggs top retail supply chain food waste

A new study has shown that the top 20 food items wasted or reduced-to-clear between the wholesale depot and the retail check-out are fruit (40%), meat and poultry (20%), with vegetables and baked goods following closely behind.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Bananas, bread and eggs top retail supply chain food waste

Together they account for 22,000 tonnes of waste at a value of £43 million each year.

The study Checking out Food Waste by packaging industry organisation INCPEN looked at weight and financial value by product category and product type. INCPEN said the study was the first of its type as it was based on actual data from retailers rather than on interviews with retail representatives. The study used data from three major retailers who together account for 65% by value of the UK FMCG retail market.

INCPEN director Jane Bickerstaffe said: "Few packaged products appear in the top 20. It is worth noting that the majority of the high wastage foods are typically sold both loose and pre-packed. It would therefore be worth exploring if packaging more of those sold loose would reduce waste.”

According to the Global Food Security programme, almost three quarters of food wasted occurs at the household level although wastage in the supply chain also needs to be addressed. While the study identifies the type of food wasted, INCPEN said additional work was needed to understand why wastage happens.

INCPEN said the study also found that levels of wastage in the different retailers varied for the same items, thereby highlighting an opportunity for retailers to learn from each other.

The study follows the recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation study which estimated the cost of food waste worldwide to be £470 billion.

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