Great strides are clearly being made towards reduction in food waste – thanks to the industry’s investment in the venture. A new report released on 17 November, 2016 by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) revealed that there is an increased amount of food donation and higher investment in food waste solutions.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) reportedly carried out the research for FWRA, which was established in 2011. The report has highlighted the techniques used by manufacturing, retail/wholesale, and restaurant sectors in recycling and repurposing food waste. It has also pinpointed areas of investment and highlighted the common obstacles encountered in food donation and recycling.

The survey covered manufacturing, retail/wholesale, and restaurant sectors and the report has dedicated separate sections for each of the three industries. Apart from the 2016 survey results’ overall summary, there were notable findings from the food manufacturing sector, for instance,  97% of food waste generated is recycled by manufacturers, with 94% being recycled to either animal feed or fertilise soil.

In 2015, food banks received food donation from manufacturers to the tune of 156 million pounds in response to the survey. Manufacturing companies have invested heavily across the board.  Half of the respondents are investing in cutting food waste, disposal of food waste, food donation, as well as food sent for recycling to animal feed.

Sustainability

According to Meghan Stasz, Senior Director, Sustainability at GMA, the research indicates that the food industry is making effort to play its part in cutting food waste and getting food to the needy.  He further said that although much progress had been made, there was still more work to be done.  A number of areas of opportunity – which are all priorities for FWRA – have been identified in the report. These include waste measurement and tracking, internal analysis and investment, as well as partnering around sharing best practices.

FWRA is currently making effort to have a better understanding of the present state of food waste, and also show the way food waste collection and processing has evolved and advanced, and the report is part of it. This year’s research has one important finding, which is the difficulty when it comes to correct measurement and monitoring of food waste on all the food industry sectors.

Stasz was quoted saying: “There is a distinct need for improved tracking and measurement so companies will be able to better understand what types of food waste they are generating and where it is occurring”.   “This will enable them to tailor food waste reduction and diversion methods to their organizational needs; a win-win for the company, the industry and everyone in between,” he concluded.