True cost of food waste in the UK supply chain


Balloon One, have conducted some new research looking into the amount of food waste generated in the UK each year in industry to investigate the cost of the UK supply chain’s food waste problem and ultimately the efficiency of UK supply chains.

The research revealed 4.8 million tonnes of food are wasted in the UK supply chain every year, highlighting the drastic action needed by various industries to combat food wastage, which is not only costly but also hugely detrimental to the environment.

To further understand the true cost of food waste in industry, Balloon One compared food waste data in relation to the average amount of food a person needs per day, revealing some shocking results:

  • The manufacturing and processing sector produced the largest amount of food waste, 1.9 million tonnes, which is enough to feed everyone in the UK for 16 days.
  • The agriculture and primary production sector produces 1.6 million tonnes of food waste, which is enough to feed everyone in the UK for 13 days.
  • The hospitality and food service sector produces 1 million tones of food waste, which is enough to feed everyone in the UK for approximately 8 days.
  • In comparison to other sectors, retail produces the least amount of food waste, however still produces 0.3 million tonnes, which is enough to feed everyone in the UK for 3 days.

Food waste is not only an issue for your bank balance, but the environment too. When we throw food away, we’re wasting the water, energy, and space that’s been used to grow, produce, and transport it.

Not only that, but approximately 8.4 million people in the UK are living in food insecure homes. The amount of food waste produced by the sector is enough to feed everyone here in the UK and tackle the country’s food poverty crisis.

So how can your business reduce its food waste?

Balloon One suggest to:

  1. Monitor your food waste
  2. Automate your processes
  3. Improve inventory management

Commenting on the data, Craig Powell, Managing Director at Balloon One said:

“The true cost of food waste in the supply chain really is shocking. With so many families going without meals, the food we’re wasting is enough to feed everyone in the UK for over a month! Clearly there are steps we need to take as an industry to reduce our waste.

“The sheer amount of food we’re throwing away is enormous, and it’s vital that every business does their bit if we want to make a difference, and each sector must work together to have the biggest impact.

“The good news is that most of our food waste can easily be avoided and is largely due to an inefficient supply chain holding things up and wasting valuable time. And, when it comes to perishable items like food, time is of the essence at every stage.

“We’re lucky enough to have innovative technology right at our fingertips, and this tech can drastically change our processes for the better. By investing in WMS and automated systems, warehouses, transport management companies, retailers, and hospitality venues can all collaborate and reduce lead times. That means food can get from farm to fork much more quickly.

“There are a few changes that every business can make to tackle the problem. So, whether you lower your inventory levels or automate your processes, every company, no matter their size, can get involved and have an impact.”

To read the full study, please visit the Balloon one website.


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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Trade Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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