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Reducing Food Waste

Over 9.5 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in the UK, with almost a million tonnes of waste coming from Scotland. Food waste is a serious issue that impacts both people and the planet. 4.6 million tonnes of the food wasted each year is perfectly edible. That’s enough for 7 billion meals. Yet the food is wasted while 11 million people across the UK are struggling to get enough to eat. This amount of waste is also bad for the environment and climate. If it were a country, food waste would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. This is why it is so important to me that we all make an effort to try and reduce food waste as well as providing better support to those who need emergency food support.


We can all do our wee bit to help cut down the amount of wasted food produced every day. This can be as easy as making sure our fridges are cold enough to stop food from going off so quickly, checking use-by dates when we’re at the supermarket, and freezing leftovers for eating later. But of course, this issue extends far beyond us as consumers. We need to see a shift in attitudes across the entire food industry.


There are already some innovative companies which have food waste reduction at the forefront of their minds. A great example of this is Growers Garden, a Cupar-based company who make delicious crisps out of wonky vegetables which are deemed ‘not perfect’ enough for supermarket shelves. Not only do they taste great and provide a healthy alternative to regular potato crisps, they also use vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away. I raised this in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday in relation to making food that would otherwise be wasted more appealing to consumers.


There are also many great organisations who are tackling this challenge head on. For example, FareShare redistribute surplus food to charities who turn it into meals. The FareShare branch in Tayside and Fife provides quality surplus food to over 90 community projects across Fife and Dundee. The team redistributes food from both local and national suppliers, helping to address both food poverty and food waste. Organisations like this provide food for those who may be struggling to access it, while creating a welcoming community, helping to reduce food waste, and helping the environment all at the same time. They also support People’s Pantries, such as the one based at the Centre in Leven, which I’ve visited previously.


We have lots of incredible farmers here in North East Fife, and making sure we prevent food waste from the very beginning is really important too. Some farmers are working collaboratively via WRAP and the NFUS to identify food waste that they are unintentionally producing and how best to reduce it. Some have also partnered with FareShare to send any surplus directly to be redistributed. Farmers who have taken the steps to reduce food waste have seen a reduction in revenue lost from wasted surplus while reducing their environmental impact and helping distribute food to those who need it.


Food waste is a big problem but if we all do our bit and amazing companies, like Growers Garden and FareShare, continue their hard work, we will get a step closer to ending food waste each day.


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