Skip to content

Food waste – new industry initiatives to reduce it

Date: February 08, 2017

Category: Opinion piece

Gary Lynch CEO GS1 UK Gary Lynch, CEO at GS1 UK revisits the huge food waste problem looking at the steps that industry have recently taken to reduce food waste

It wasn’t too long ago when I talked about the huge issue of food waste and how our global standards can help reduce the problem. Now, the numbers are staggering as the latest figures show that the UK is throwing away £13bn of food each year.

Food waste – new industry initiatives to reduce it

There’s no doubt that food waste is a huge global issue and – let’s face it, an ongoing and well-known pain point for the grocery industry. Which is why, I’m pleased to see that lately there are increasingly more and more things being done to help reduce the unacceptable levels of food wasted around the world.

In the UK in particular, we’re now seeing quite a few new initiatives materialising – such as a waste café that opened up recently and plans to give away any unused food. Its organisers have partnered up with supermarkets and bakers, including Morrison’s, ASDA Greggs, Costcutter and Nandos, and aim to provide free meals for those who need them. Or the latest app in South West London that is helping eateries in Leeds, Brighton and London reduce their amount of food waste by linking customers with nearby restaurants and provide them with food in high discounts at the end of the day that they would have otherwise thrown away.

Also, now many supermarkets are following this example and are using apps, or even developing their own, to help them solve the problem. For example, Waitrose is trialling, initially in 25 stores, the FareShare FoodCloud app to reduce their in-store food waste. And Sainsbury’s will be extending their partnership with the food waste app Olio after a successful six-month trial period. Also, Asda now has a whole range of initiatives dedicated to reducing food waste – and has also launched its latest app – 'Asda Surplus Swap' – that is aimed at suppliers who can now exchange any surplus food they have and would have otherwise thrown away.

I’m personally very pleased to see that industry is taking steps towards tackling the food waste problem. GS1 standards deliver a more efficient supply chain through improved inventory management and more accurate stock levels at the stores – resulting in less waste.

And, last but not least, we’re proud to be part of The Grocer‘s Waste Not Want Not campaign against food waste, along with many other organisations who have already pledged their support.


More about GS1 DataBar barcodes

Providing the foundation for effective retail operations

Setting new standards in foodservice and wholesale

Follow The Grocer's Waste Not Want Not campaign on Twitter via #wastenotwantnot