Food waste reduction: action plan

Sets out how Scotland can work to deliver it's commitment to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.

Where we need to be - a call to action

Reducing per capita food waste in Scotland to 33% below 2013 levels by 2025 is an ambitious, world leading target and requires the commitment of Government, the public and private sector, and, importantly, the Scottish citizen. We all have our part to play:

  • The Scottish Government, facilitated by Zero Waste Scotland and partnered by key agencies including SEPA and Food Standards Scotland, will provide any required changes to the legislation; support; and infrastructure to deliver the target;
  • The Scottish food and drink industry will demonstrate leadership through the adoption and implementation of the actions highlighted in this Action Plan and focus on the internationally recognised "target, measure, act" approach;
  • Our public sector will lead the way in reducing food waste across our schools, hospitals and public buildings; developing experience and expertise that it can share with the private sector and ensuring that the next generation champions the minimisation of food waste;
  • Our researchers and innovators will be supported to develop new technologies and processes that will reduce food waste and extract as much value as possible from our organic resources and;
  • The Scottish householder and our next generation will be empowered to reduce food waste, drive changes in labelling and in food businesses' corporate behaviour, and reuse or recycle as part of the wider circular economy.

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that total food waste amounted to around 988,000 tonnes in 2013, or 185kg per capita[1]. To achieve the target, per capita food waste must fall to 124kg per annum by 2025. Based on current population forecasts, this equates to a reduction of approximately 297,000 tonnes or 61kg per capita below the 2013 baseline (see Table 1).

Table 1: The future of food waste.

Year Population Total target tonnage kg per capita
2013 5,330,000 988,000 185
2025 (target) 5,570,000 691,000 124
Difference 240,000 -297,000 -61
CO2eq impact of 33% (tonnes CO2eq) 1,110,000

This Plan is a dynamic, living strategy that will respond to new evidence on food waste, closely monitor the Measures, and integrate new technologies and other solutions as they emerge. We will also share our collective national knowledge with our partners across the UK, EU and beyond to ensure we take the most efficient and cost-effective pathway to successfully reaching 33% in 2025.

Reducing per capita food waste in Scotland to 33% below 2013 levels by 2025 is an ambitious, world leading target

All key sectors must be ambitious in their drive to reduce food waste

All key sectors must be ambitious in their drive to reduce food waste. And some have greater potential to make a positive impact than others; either because they have a greater capacity for reduction or because they can take more effective measures to combat waste.

The two largest sector sources of food waste are Household & Consumer (61%) and Food & Drink Manufacturing (25%). While the Scottish householder is a clear target for change, the relationships between the consumer, the retailer and the supply chain are complex, with each influencing the others' decisions and behaviour.

While there is some uncertainty about the food waste generated by Hospitality & Catering, Wholesale & Retail, Education, and Healthcare sectors, the actions within this Plan will increase our knowledge and understanding of these sectors' contributions and their capacity to deliver towards the target.

Scottish 2013 Baseline

Household 61%
F&D Manufacturing 25%
Other 14%



Back to top