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Food & Hunger

UK Restaurants and Cafes Ditch 320 Million Perfectly Good Meals a Year


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals are a roadmap to ending extreme poverty by 2030, including through driving progress on sustainable consumption and production — which means eliminating food waste. All around the world, edible food is being thrown away while at the same time millions of people are hungry. Join us by taking action here in support of the Global Goals. 

This week has brought us World Food Day — celebrated every year on Oct. 16. And in 2018, it’s got everyone talking about food waste. 

Food waste is one of the most absurd things about the global food system. Of all the food produced for human consumption around the world, a third of it is lost or thrown away. 

That’s around 1.3 billion tonnes of food that’s going to waste — while at the same time 821 million people are malnourished. 

Take Action: Tweet Starbucks Asking Them to Donate 100% of Unused Food to Charity in the UK

In the UK alone — where about 8 million people live in households that struggle to put food on the table — some 900,000 edible, fresh meals are ending up in the bin every day. 

In a year, 320 million meals are reportedly being thrown out, according to figures compiled by good waste app Too Good to Go. It’s enough food to feed the whole population of the UK five times over, reported the Guardian.

“No one leaves the lights on when they leave the house,” said Hayley Conick, UK managing director at Too Good to Go, in a statement. “Yet, whether it’s in restaurants, food shops, or our own homes, we don’t think twice about throwing away perfectly good food.” 

Related Stories Sept. 26, 2018 UK Supermarkets Just Pledged to Halve All Food Waste by 2030 in a 'World First'

The government’s food waste advisory board Wrap estimates that the problem costs businesses in Britain more than £2.5 million a week. And across all sectors, according to WHO, food waste costs the UK about £20 billion every year. 

Too Good to Go is one of several apps working to combat food waste — and it’s going it by linking members of the public to restaurants with unsold food, which they can then “rescue” for a discounted price. So far, the app says it has reduced over 5 million meals. 

“By creating a new market for surplus food we make sure that more food gets eaten leaving businesses, consumers, and the planet as winners in the process,” added Conick. 

Earlier this month, the UK government announced a £15 million project to cut food waste, which is designed to cut the estimated 100,000 tonnes of edible food that is thrown away every year. 

“Working with industry and charities, we should be able to get up to 250 million extra meals a year on to the tables and plates of the most deserving in our society,” said Michael Gove, the UK’s environment secretary. 

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Meanwhile, in a voluntary action, 90 retailers, manufacturers, producers, hospitality, and restaurant chains across Britain pledged to halve food waste “from farm to fork” — meaning throughout the whole supply chain — by 2030. 

It was described at the time as a “transformational” moment in the fight against food waste. 

By 2026, the aim is to have 250 of Britain’s leading food businesses signed up to the plan to cut waste, which is led by Wrap and the food and grocery charity IGD.