Working in partnership to reduce food waste

Written by David Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland on 5 June 2017 in Comment

Associate feature: FDF Scotland CEO David Thomson on how the food industry is cutting down waste

Associate feature on behalf of Food and Drink Federation Scotland​

Food waste is a hot topic just now and an area where food and drink manufacturers have made significant progress. Our members are taking a whole food chain approach to this issue and focusing on actions that help to prevent food from becoming waste in the first place across the whole supply chain from agriculture through to manufacturing, retail, and the end consumer.

Our member companies from across the UK that took part in our recent waste survey have achieved their ambition to send zero food and packaging waste to landfill. Between 2006 and 2015 they have diverted approximately 800,000 tonnes of food and packaging waste from landfill.

There are many innovative ways companies can avoid food waste or maximise its recovery across the food supply chain. Iconic Scottish brand Macsween recycles 100% of their surplus by turning it into fuel. 


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Ivan Wood & Sons, a wholesale merchant and processor of fruit and vegetables based in Fife, sends their vegetable peels and trimmings to local farms to feed livestock. MD Malcolm Wood has designed a water filtration system that allows the food waste component to be separated from water, meaning there is no waste discharged into drains. The water, which is up to 100 per cent starch-free, can then be recycled along with potato peel.

This type of progress and innovation is important as the food and drink industry plays its part in achieving the Scottish Government’s ambitious food waste target to cut food waste across the whole supply chain by a third by 2025. We need to do that whilst aiming to double the value of our industry and reach a £30bn turnover target by 2030. 

The only way to achieve this is in partnership. Local authorities, SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government must work flexibly with food manufacturers to support them to reduce food waste and increase their productivity.

Scotland has always been at the forefront of the sustainability agenda and it is essential that we all work together to continue to drive real, positive change.

David Thomson is CEO of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland

Get in touch to discuss how we can work together at @Scottish_FDF email: sfdf@sfdf.org.uk telephone: 0131 229 9415

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