Meat and fish waste in the supply chain to be measured

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New research led by WRAP and Envirowise is set to discover for the first time the amount of meat and fish waste, and the associated packaging, is ending up as waste is the UK retail supply chain.

The team will also identify how to reduce it in order to realise cost savings and environmental benefits for the businesses participating.

WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and Envirowise plan to develop detailed resource maps to identify the amount of food and packaging generated and where is occurs. The two bodies are encouraging companies to take part so as to gather accurate and up-to-date information.

Data will be collected for poultry, beef, lamb and pork in the meat category and for twenty types of fish, including haddock and cockles, within the fish sector at all points along the wholesale and retail supply chain within the UK.

The project will also look to detail the amount of water consumed and disposed of during processing, as well as the carbon impact of waste and its economic value.

WRAP and Envirowise hope the results will benefit participating businesses and the wider industry by identifying key areas where resources can be used more efficiently and waste can be prevented.

This will include making recommendations to tackle the hot spots and the development of good practice case studies.

Charlotte Henderson, retail supply chain programme manager at WRAP, said: “Meat and fish are priority food items for resource mapping because of their high embodied carbon and short shelf-life. 

“Identifying where and when the waste is generated – and the reasons why – will help us develop solutions to use resources more efficiently.  These solutions will be shared and be good news for companies within the supply chains because the benefits identified will be commercial as well as environmental”.

She added that the problem of meat and fish waste and water use is complex and requires a multi-disciplinary approach.

As such, food and grocery supply chain expert IGD is undertaking the research on meat in partnership with MLCSL Consulting (a commercial subsidiary of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board), the British Poultry Council and Cranfield University. 

The work will link in to the English Beef & Lamb Executive (EBLEX) and Defra Meat Roadmap work currently being undertaken.

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