Food waste reduction: action plan

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

Sector Leadership

Support public and private sector leadership on food waste

Lead organisation: Zero Waste Scotland

Every sector has its part to play in reducing food waste. The public sector is a leading light; positively influencing the private sector, wider society, and Scotland's young people to make food waste reduction part of everyday life. Exciting projects and pilot programmes are already underway.

  • Zero Waste Scotland is working with schools, communities, the NHS, and local authorities across Scotland.
  • The Scottish food and drink industry is engaging with C2025.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises are receiving Zero Waste Scotland financial support to improve efficiency and reduce food waste.
  • Exciting opportunities are being developed in the reuse of organic resources.

Public Sector

The public sector spends millions of pounds annually on food and drink. Good practice in the public sector, such as more consistent and stringent scoring factors in local authority public procurers' tenders, will set a standard for private sector procurement and suppliers.

The drivers of food waste in schools are complex and numerous. However, outcomes of initiatives such as the Small Change Big Difference campaign have shown that pupil led classroom-based interventions, in tandem with catering measuring and monitoring efforts, can reduce waste within schools. The principles of a 'Good Food Nation', reinforced through the value of food, will also ensure that a future generation of Scots has a more holistic understanding of the true cost of food waste.

Food waste prevention in our healthcare system is also difficult to address because of the sheer size of the system that caters for the competing demands of its patients, visitors and staff. Reducing food waste, while meeting patients' nutritional needs, could lower costs. The NHS has committed to developing a national action plan and the process will be initiated in 2019.

We will:

  • Expand pilot programmes across the education sector (schools, colleges, universities and local authorities) and in the government's and other public sector buildings.
  • Support the development and implementation of the NHS Scotland national action plan on food waste.
  • Develop best practice guidance and training for public sector procurement teams to drive new ways of working and more transparent supply chains
  • Build skills, competency and knowledge on the management of food waste.
  • Update the 'Love Food, Hate Waste' education pack and expand its distribution and facilitation.
  • Support the integration of food waste prevention into relevant aspects of the national curriculum.
  • Working with Good Food Nation measures including their food education programmes.

Business Sector

Food waste prevention can only be effectively achieved by driving transformative change in business practice throughout the food supply and value chain, and across all sectors. Overproduction at the farm gate, unnecessarily stringent specifications, and poor procurement practices are common examples of drivers of supply chain food waste 'hotspots'.

We will address this with:

  • Greater monitoring and public reporting on supply chain food waste;
  • Increased accountability and transparency and;
  • The encouragement of businesses to take collective responsibility for food waste occurring throughout their supply chains.

The recently released Food Waste Reduction Roadmap developed by WRAP and the IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution) suggests that businesses are willing to participate.

We will increase participation and 'cascade' best practice by incorporating food waste reduction and reporting criteria into existing accreditation standards and qualifications. This will embed food loss and food waste considerations into business models.

We will support the business sector with:

  • Continued engagement with C2025 and the Food Waste Roadmap development to promote increasingly consistent, transparent, and Scottish-specific reporting ('target, measure, act').
  • Developing, testing and promoting the use of the most cost-effective measuring and monitoring tools for businesses of all sizes.
  • Integrating food waste into existing environmental and sustainability accreditation schemes or establishing requirements for new schemes.
  • Working with industry leaders, through sector-specific forums, to offer support and advice to businesses on supply chain food waste 'hotspots'.
  • Gathering and sharing international best practice on food waste reduction measures with the Scottish food sector.

Hospitality sector

The Hospitality & Catering sector is very diverse, and it is difficult to offer food waste solutions when it is challenging to even quantify the volume of waste that this sector produces.

A recent analysis from Champions 12.3 found that half of the 1,200 businesses reviewed saw at least a 14-fold return on their investment in food loss and waste reduction efforts. There is a need to work with the hospitality industry on such elements as business models, portion sizing, and leftovers and also with consumers regarding their dining and ordering behaviour.

Our work will address sub-sectors such as: hotels, restaurants, quick service restaurants, food-to-go specialists, coffee specialists and takeaways and will develop targeted and practical best practice guidance. We will prioritise our work with sub-sectors according to their potential to reduce food waste and their capacity to adapt.

We will support the Hospitality and Catering sector by:

  • Providing dedicated resources and a sector champion to build on and expand engagement and facilitation across this priority sector.
  • Identifying and demonstrating the value of reducing food waste to the sector through the expansion of business advice and support services.
  • Developing activities with sector stakeholders and suppliers to engage with multiple businesses (i.e. their membership or customers).
  • Developing best practice guidance for prioritised sub-sectors.
  • Integrating food waste awareness and management into hospitality training; in further education and in Continuous Professional Development.



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