Feedback is a London-based campaign group that works to regenerate nature by reducing the demands placed on it by the food system.
Founded in 2013, we are best known for our work on food waste. Our campaign style is unique, and we have over the years successfully combined hard-hitting investigative research, mass public participation public feasts and on the ground pilots for a better food system to put the issue of food waste at the very top of the business and policy agendas.
Having diagnosed food waste as a symptom of a dysfunctional food system, and with the arrival of a new Executive Director, Carina Millstone, we last year conducted a strategic review to understand the changes to the food system that would be required for a waste-free system.
This has led us to expand our areas of work to include other specific themes within the food and proximate systems, including meat, aquaculture, sugar and ‘green’ energy generated through anaerobic digestion, as well as developing a broader critique of the globalised, financialised, food system, and piloting its alternative through our regional food economy programme.
At Feedback, we understand that food waste is a symptom of our broken food system. To fully address food waste we need to build a better food system; one that is circular, low-input and stable. Read more about our model for a better food system here.
What we do
We are unique in combining high-profile, innovative and inspiring public campaigning with hard-hitting research and expert advice on food waste reduction, which we communicate to decision-makers across government, business and the third sector. We specialise in shining a light on the hidden causes of waste across the food supply chain. We work to raise the profile of existing initiatives that offer the solutions to food waste; where solutions do not currently exist, we catalyse the creation of new organisations and projects to implement them.
With a track record of changing the policies of some of the world’s biggest food companies and reaching out to millions of people through our projects, our innovative campaigning style has helped to elevate food waste from a non-issue several years ago to one now recognised as an urgent international priority.
Currently our food system is the single biggest problem standing in the way of tackling climate change, biodiversity loss and other major environmental problems. That’s why we are working towards a circular, stable, low-input food system.
Our story so far
Feedback is built on over a decade of food waste campaigning by Tristram Stuart and the Feedback team. After years of instigating mass media coverage of the issue – principally by taking journalists and broadcast media round the back of supermarkets to uncover the extent of the food waste scandal – Tristram published his book, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009) and soon after organised the first Feeding the 5000 event in London’s Trafalgar Square in December 2009. With the extensive media outreach and public support for the initiative, the event had immediate impact on government and business policy and promoted the activities and messages of the partner organisations, including FareShare, This is Rubbish, ActionAid and Save the Children. Since that date Tristram and the Feedback team have played a pivotal role in catalysing the food waste movement in the UK and around the world.
Since 2009, Feedback has been working hard to combat the global food waste scandal. Read our latest social impact report here. Some of our successes over the years include:
JULY- DECEMBER 2009
Publication of ‘Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal’, Tristram Stuart’s investigation into the causes and problems of food waste. ‘Waste’ is subsequently discussed by Members of Parliament in autumn during review of the 2007 Waste Strategy for the UK.
Tristram Stuart and Niki Charampopoulou organise first ever Feeding the 5000 event in Trafalgar Square. Partner organisations include Save the Children, Action Aid, School Food Matters and FareShare.
JANUARY- JUNE 2010
Member of Parliament (MP) Roger Williams tables an Early Day Motion on food waste, calling on government to encourage large food retailers and manufacturers to report transparently on food waste.
JULY- DECEMBER 2010
Tristram Stuart advises on and features in ‘The Great British Waste Menu’ – a pioneering 90 minute BBC documentary about food waste.
JANUARY- JUNE 2011
Tristram Stuart awarded the Sophie Prize, a prestigious international environmental award previously won by, among others, John Pilger, Wangari Maathai and James Hansen.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation publishes ‘Global Food Losses and Food Waste Report’ adopting the date and recommendations published in ‘Waste’ and establishes the SAVE FOOD initiative – a global effort to cut down on food losses and waste.
JULY- DECEMBER 2011
The very first gleaning day takes place on a Surrey orchard with a tonne of apples gleaned.
Tristram Stuart awarded Observer Food Monthly Outstanding Contribution Award for his campaigning on food waste.
The Food Waste Pyramid, designed by Tristram Stuart in collaboration with the Feeding the 5000 steering group, launched at a House of Lords event hosted by Baroness Jenkin, with senior representatives of the food waste industry. Food businesses from across the supply chain including big retailers, restaurants and manufacturers sign up to the food waste pyramid.
Feeding the 5000 takes place for the second time in Trafalgar Square in November 2011. We worked with the Mayor’s Waste Strategy Team, the London Food Board and a range of partner organisations including FareShare, FoodCycle and Friends of the Earth.
The European Parliament adopts a resolution to halve food waste in the European Union by 2025. Designated 2014 as the European Year Against Food Waste
The first Feeding the 5000 outside London takes place in Bristol. Partnering with FareShare South West, over 5,000 meals are served to the public made from food that would otherwise have been wasted.
Tristram Stuart gives a TED Talk, The Global Food Waste Scandal. The talk has had over a million viewers to date.
Feeding the 5000 Paris (Le Banquet des 5000) is held to coincide with the release of Tristram Stuart’s documentary film, Global Waste (Global Gâchis).
JANUARY- JUNE 2013
Feeding the 5000 partners with United Nations Environment Programme on the Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint campaign, launched at the UNEP governing council meeting in Nairobi. Feedback’s research reveals that Kenyan farmers waste up to 40 per cent of what they grow, such as green beans for the export market, because they often do not fit the strict European supermarkets cosmetic standards.
Bristol, Manchester and Amsterdam hold Feeding the 5000 events.
Launch of The Pig Idea campaign in June 2013.
JULY- DECEMBER 2013
30 tonnnes of cauliflower and cabbage rescued over two days in collaboration with Company Shop. One of the largest gleanings to date.
The Pig Idea Feast takes over Trafalgar Square together with Thomasina Miers, Stepney City Farm and London’s top restaurants including Wahaca.
Feeding the 5000 events in Nantes, Edinburgh, Marseille (Feeding the 4200) and the first ever Disco Soupe in New York City.
Following years of pressure, major UK food retailers declare they will release in store food waste data, something they had resisted for years.
Feedback selected as one of three finalists for the BBC Food & Farming Award in the Best British Food Initiatives category.
Feedback launches as a registered charity, with Niki Charampopoulou as co-founder and Executive Director.
Feeding the 5000 Brussels and European Parliament conference to get action against food waste on the international agenda, as well as a legislative priority.
Feedback extends its investigations to Peru, Guatemala and Costa Rica, and its petition campaigning for supermarkets to ‘Stop Dumping’ food waste on their suppliers gains 1 million signatures.
Our gleaning network rescues of 142 tonnes of produce, with the help of nearly 800 volunteers, all of whom gain experience and ideas in food waste rescue and campaigning.
Toast Ale, the company that turns surplus bread into beer, launches on Jamie Oliver’s Friday Night Feast show in January. All profits from Toast, which tackles the 44% of bread which is never eaten, go to Feedback.
Following our high profile US Feeding the 5000 events in six cities, and a nationwide petition to simplify and standardise date labels on US food products, two major food retail associations release guidance on standardised date labelling.
Sainsbury’s released its UK-wide food waste data for the frst time, coinciding with the Evening Standard’s food waste investigation supported by Feedback.
Our Gleaning Network’s efforts to rescue hundreds of thousands of cauliflowers going to waste on British farms hits the Sunday Times and local papers, with Tesco and Aldi agreeing to stock and market more cauliflowers to prevent more waste.
Several of Feedback’s recommendations to the UK parliament enquiry into food waste in England are taken up in their report calling for a national food waste target in line with the UN’s global goal to halve food waste by 2030.
Feedback launch our campaign Total Bull, which takes Tesco to task for their use of ‘fake farm’ labels on meat products, which mislead customers on the provenance of their food and damage small farmers’ interests. A few weeks’ later, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, announces that misleading labelling will be banned.