Founded in 2013, Feedback has generated outsized impact over our short history. Here’s six ways we’ve changed the game in the past few years:
1. Secured major victories on supermarket practice on food waste
After many years of research, campaigning and engagement with industry, including our Supermarket Food Waste Scorecard, 2018 not only saw Tesco commit to halving food waste in its supply chain (in addition to its retail operations, and to working with its top 24 suppliers to do the same, but also the commitment by 89 major UK food businesses to publish their food waste data and to halve their food waste from farm to fork by 2030. This significant commitment is a first worldwide and can be directly traced to WRAP and Feedback working in tandem.
Feedback’s role has been to catalyse public awareness and foster demand for action on food waste – it has been credited by our allies as integral to raising the ambitions of UK businesses on food waste.
2. Changed the game on the food safety, economic and environmental case for feeding food waste to pigs
In 2017/18 our case for The Pig Idea – that pigs be fed surplus food no longer fit for human consumption – reached and persuaded major new audiences. Our scientific and policy case took the form of a major academic study for EU policy makers detailing the findings of a multidisciplinary panel of experts which we convened at Wageningen University, and the publication of Feeding Surplus Food To Pigs Safely, a report primarily directed at UK policy makers. On the back of these publications, we engaged with civil society (at events like the Oxford Real Farming Conference and the Extinction and Livestock conference), and with EU, Dutch, French, Catalonian and British policy makers. We were invited as expert speakers to an all staff session at the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), enabling us to reach policy makers across specialisms.
The Pig Idea also featured on the BBC Countryfile 30th anniversary edition (with a media reach of 7 million) and in The Times, persuading a wider audience of the common sense and environmental merits of our case.
3. Influenced the debate on agriculture post-Brexit
We took part in key consultation processes, including on the Health and Harmony Strategy and the Resources and Waste Strategy. We also commented on the Agriculture Bill and responded to consultations on Better Regulation and the Competition and Markets Authority, as well as consulting on Labour’s agricultural policy. Our response to the UK government policy paper ‘Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ was publicly described by one of our civil society partners as: ‘phenomenal research, clear thinking and compelling arguments’. In addition, many of our suggestions were reflected in the government’s approach to post-Brexit agricultural policy, including a provision in the Agriculture Bill to ask farmers to measure food waste on their farm, a core policy ask for Feedback.
In the EU, we were delighted that 2018 saw an agreement to regulate Unfair Trading Practices in the food supply chain across the EU, a key ask for Feedback, which will help prevent the role unfair market practices such as last minute order cancellations play in creating waste on farms.
4. Set the scene for future regulation on food labelling transparency
Our 2017 campaign Total Bull was our biggest social media hit to date, with the campaign video gathering close to 170,000 views. Through our support to a pig farmer considering legal action against Tesco for the use of the ‘Woodside Farm’ name in their ‘fake farm’ pork branding, the campaign also received significant media coverage in The Guardian, Daily Mail Online, The Times and BBC Business. This campaign helped ensure transparency and labelling, in particular on food provenance, were on the agenda for UK legislators, with the Agriculture Bill including powers to regulate marketing practices such as ‘presentation, labelling and packaging’.
5. Taking Gleaning to the next level by open-sourcing our approach across the UK (and the world)
This year has been our biggest and best for our Gleaning Network: engaging a record number of farmers, volunteers and rescuing our largest volume of food yet. Working with 76 farmers, we salvaged more than 110,000kg of food from farms, orchards and market gardens and then redistributed it to a wide range of charities, community groups, homeless shelters, and foodbanks. We’re so grateful to the more than 1,000 volunteers who helped make this happen!
While our work in previous years was mainly targeted at engaging young volunteers, we are proud to have diversified our Gleaning and food preparation volunteers, working with marginalised and diverse groups in Sussex and Kent, including young offenders.
We will now be focusing on replicating our success through ‘community-led Gleaning’, building the capacity of community groups to set up their own Gleaning hubs, thus further upscaling and open-sourcing our Gleaning activities.
6. Nurturing the next generation of food and climate activists
We want to redefine the language which sees all of us labelled as consumers and reclaim our status as food citizens – empowered to change the food system for the better. In 2018 we directly engaged with over 500 young people as part of the National Citizenship Service Programme, work placements at our offices, and student events at Bristol University and the University of the West of England. Close to 70% of the young people we worked with reported they felt inspired to make changes in their own lives, such as cutting down on food waste, eating less meat or joining local environmental projects. Two-thirds of participants said they would share their learnings with their peers, and over one-third said that participation in the workshop had made them consider a career in the environmental or charitable sector. We will be building on this portfolio of work with our new food citizenship project.
How we live our values in our work:
We are bold
We don’t hesitate to speak truth to power and we are ready to expose and shine a light on new issues for debate within the food system.
We are celebratory
We are celebratory. We celebrate successes, and the value and power of food to bring people together to replenish themselves and address the climate and ecological emergency.
We are inspiring
We aim to enthuse people in our work and give the opportunities for participation through volunteering or campaigning, as well as empowering them to replicate all our work through open sourcing and toolkits.
We are impact driven
We focus on maximum impact in everything we do, developing original tactics for our different campaigns rather than settling for the tried-and-tested.
We are collaborative
We always work in partnership with community groups, civil society organisations or allies across sectors.
Read our impact stories from some of the countries where we’ve worked:
Feedback is based in London but our impact is global. View the map of where we work.