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Reducing Food Waste

Sycamore Dining in Nottingham hates food waste, and does all it can to minimise it. This page gives some facts on the size of the problem in the UK.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted by the UK food industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat. Our work addresses these two issues by redistributing food industry surplus, which would otherwise go to waste, to the people who need it most. Find facts and figures on food waste and hunger in the UK below.

Food Waste (UK)

1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK alone

By “food industry” we mean all businesses involved in the supply of food. It includes everyone from farmers and growers to manufacturers and processors to wholesalers, retailers and food service companies.

270,000 tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible

That’s enough for 650 million meals

We call food that isn’t going to be sold, but which is still edible, surplus food. Food becomes surplus for simple reasons such as over-production, labeling errors or short shelf-life. Surplus food occurs everywhere in the supply chain from field through to fork. Here’s a breakdown of where it occurs and how much:

  • Farms: 100,000-500,000 tonnes

  • Processing and manufacturing: 52,000-160,000 tonnes

  • Wholesale and distribution: 80,000-120,000 tonnes

  • Retail: 47,000-110,000 tonnes

Hunger (UK)

8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat

This is equivalent to the entire population of London

4.7 million of these people live in severely food insecure homes. This means that their food intake is greatly reduced and children regularly experience physical sensations of hunger.

UN figures also show that 5.6% of people aged 15 or over struggle to get enough food. A further 4.5% report that they have been a full day without anything to eat.

Our Fareshare research shows that 46% of people accessing the services of our charity partners have gone a whole day without a proper meal in the last month.

using food

Reducing Food Waste in Nottingham

Sycamore Dining help reduce food waste in Nottingham in several ways. They only source the food for the meals they serve from Fareshare, which is all surplus food from the supply chain. If they are delivered more food than they need to feed customers, they re-distribute it, either to other similar charities or community cafes providing meals, charities feeding the homeless and food banks, or as food parcels to customers. 

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