The Bread and Butter Thing would like to echo the messages of WRAP’s new guidance on food surplus issued today (23rd April): no good food should go to waste.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given consumers the opportunity to reassess their relationship with food and the UK's food industry which has demonstrated its robust systems. Perceptions about food availability have started to change as people turn to online delivery services and learn to consume the food that is available, not necessarily what they want.
This includes how much people waste at home, encouraging people not to throw edible food away, and will increasingly change perceptions around industry concepts such as Best Before dates.
The Bread and Butter Thing has always worked in this way - redistributing surplus food that is available including produce recently beyond its stated Best Before. It's always quality food including fresh fruit and veg, chilled and ambient goods. We have discussed with our members their attitudes to Best Before. Almost without exception, they are very comfortable with consuming food beyond its stated Best Before date, valuing the additional variety in their weekly bags.
We are also supporting DEFRA's call to open up branded and own-brand/private label food for redistribution. Particularly in this time of crisis, we need to pull together across the industry and ensure that we are unlocking as much food as is possible and a critical element of this is branded and own-brand produce.
We recently commissioned research in this area from industry specialists Anthesis which showed that 72% of edible food waste and surplus in the supply chain is private label. If we are all to feed as many people as possible, now is the time to relax controls surrounding private label brands.
As a result, we would like to see a single set of qualifying criteria across the industry with the acknowledgement that once a food redistribution charity has been authorised by a major industry stakeholder, this should then satisfy the criteria for all supermarket and food producers. There should be no reason for such repeated and wasted resource.
There is a lot of brilliant work currently taking place across the food industry in extremely challenging and high pressure circumstances. Relaxing the regulations around own-brand products and encouraging the revaluation of Best Before consumption in the home will help unlock tens of thousands of tonnes of additional surplus food that is currently going to waste but could help feed the millions in need across the UK.
The Bread and Butter Thing