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Food is too cheap for some—and too expensive for others. Food waste draws inequalities, in both the UK and globally, into stark relief. Tackling food waste is not sufficient to make the food system sustainable—not by any means—but it is necessary.     University of  Manchester

The top ten food types thrown away are, by weight

1.  Standard bread

2.  Fresh potatoes

3.  Milk

4.  Meals (home-made and pre-prepared)

5.  Carbonated soft drinks

6.  Fruit juice and smoothies

7.  Poultry meat

8.  Pork meat

9.  Cakes

10.  Processed potatoes (e.g. chips

pumpkindateLinks to web and other resources on Food Waste

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Impacts of food waste

The cost to the UK of avoidable food and drink waste in 2012 was £12.5 billion; and the cost of avoidable food and drink waste for the average household is estimated to be £470 per year.

Food waste also has environmental impacts (primarily in the form of greenhouse gas emissions and water use) and social impacts such as food poverty.

More information on food poverty is provided in the Library Briefing Paper on Food Banks and Food Poverty.

 UN Sustainable Development GoalsThe UN Sustainable Development Goals were agreed in September 2015 and include a target to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030.

The EU Circular Economy Package

The EU Circular Economy Package was announced on 2 December 2015 and includes a number of proposals on food waste and food donation.

Proposed legislation

Kerry McCarthy MP introduced the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill 2015-16 to Parliament on 9 September 2015, which includes a requirement for large supermarkets, manufactuers and distributors to reduce their food waste by no less than 30% by 2025.

Commons Committees

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee made a number of recommendations relating to food waste, including in relation to separate food waste collections and funding for WRAP, in their reports on:

All Party Parliamentary Group

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty have published a number of recommendations relating to food waste in recent reports, focusing on redistribution and using surplus food.

Lords Committee

The House of Lords EU Committee report on EU food waste, Counting the Cost of Food Waste (April 2014) made a number of recommendations relating to EU and UK policy on food waste, including a recommendation that fiscal measures should be assessed at an EU and UK level.