Sharing Skills

Food Waste

Food waste is a real problem. Here are some shocking statistics:

  • 30 – 40% of all the food produced in the world is wasted each year.
  • It takes an area of land larger than China to grow this amount of food!
  • As well as space, it takes a lot of time, labour, water, chemicals, manufacturing, packaging and fossil fuels to produce this food.
  • 70% of food waste in the UK is from the home or supply chain. It’s cheaper to throw away food than to reduce the loss.
  • 2 billion people in the world are food insecure. The amount of food we waste is enough to feed 2 billion people.

  • Food waste counts for 6% of the world’s emissions. That’s three times the emissions caused by aviation.
  • In the UK, we waste 6.6 million tonnes of food within UK households, hospitality & food service, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors.
  • It’s estimated that in the UK we throw away 22% of our weekly shop, which is worth about £700 per year.
  • 25% of the world’s fresh water is used in producing the food that is wasted.
  • 700,000 tonnes of food surplus from manufacturing, retail and hospitality and food service is either being redistributed via charitable and commercial routes or used for animal feed. (source:
  • When food goes into landfill, it rots without oxygen producing methane which is around 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
  • If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and USA.

For tips and recipes for leftover food, visit Love Food Hate Waste

Surplus Food Redistribution

All over the country there are charities working to redistribute food from manufacturing, farms, supermarkets and other retailers that can’t be sold.

This food may have a short shelf life, incorrect labelling or be a seasonal glut. The charities will then redistribute the food to other charities and community groups.

Some foods cannot be distributed this way maybe because the date is too short on the product so surplus food cafes and shops are popping up to sell this food on a pay as you feel basis.

Locally the Havens Community Hub in Denton redistribute surplus food through their hub.

Seahaven Community Food run many community food projects.

Peacehaven community supermarket

Fareshare Sussex are feeding 12,000 people each week through 141 charities and community groups.

UKHarvest based in West Sussex are redistributing food and providing food education.

In Brighton, The Real Junk Food Project have 3 cafes and a food hub where they offer cooked meals and surplus ready made food on a pay as you feel basis.

If you’re interested in how the Real Junk Food started and how it works, watch this inspiring interview with founder Adam Smith

Feedback is a campaign group working towards a better food system by researching, educating and engaging with industry and governments.

In 2012 Feedback set up the Gleaning Network. Working with farms to pick the produce that would have gone to waste for reasons such as it is not profitable for the farmer to harvest a crop or the produce is the wrong shape or size for supermarkets. The food is then given to local charities and community groups to use.

Volunteers receive emails telling them when there is a gleaning day near them.
Sign up to hear about Gleaning days here.