Farm food waste and surplus costing UK £1 billion every year

A report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, which is based on data from 2017, highlights that around 3.6 million tonnes of food surplus and waste is generated on UK farms each year, accounting for 7.2 per cent of production. The value of this food is in the region of £1.2 billion (€1.32 billion).

According to the report, food waste accounts for 1.6 million tonnes of the total figure, with a market value of around £650 million (€713 million). Sugar beet, potatoes and carrots make up more than 50 per cent of the total food wasted.

The report also considers the percentage of a crop that becomes waste. Although 116,000 tonnes of milk waste arose, this constitutes only 0.8 per cent of total production, whilst the 104,000 tonnes of lettuce wasted accounts for nearly 25 per cent of the total.

Surplus food – products not sold for human consumption, but instead used as livestock feed, redistributed to charities or used to produce bio-based materials – is estimated at two million tonnes per annum, costing more than £500 million (€548 million).