Category: Feedback Update

Apocalypse Cow and techno-saviours? Time we thought about people & planet, not products

9th Jan 20 by Daniel Jones, Policy Researcher

Lab-grown foods - the future of farming? Daniel Jones is concerned about the triumph of industrial, corporate agriculture in another guise.

“Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people. Yet we can’t ask everyone to become vegetarians. That’s why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources.” Bill Gates

Old white men have been worrying about who’s going to eat what for a long time. But ever since a bloke called Malthus started fretting back in the late 18th century, a slightly more optimistic set of thinkers started confidently talking up the power of technology to provide more and more and more food, from the latest pesticide, to drone crop husbandry and high yield – but highly restricted – seeds genomes.

The quote opening this blog, from the plutocrat Bill Gates, shows the latest iteration of this philosophy. In Apocalypse Cow, screened last night on Channel 4, George Monbiot doubles down on this argument. In his vision, a vastly reduced global footprint of farming through new technologies can spare land for rewilding and feed a growing population.

The concern about rising meat demand plugs straight into familiar worries about population growth. As populations grow and GDP rises, an unstoppable desire for more meat is seen as inevitable. More meat undoubtedly means more land, more water – and less forest. Meat, in short, is inefficient. This is why sci-fi ideas such as cultured meat have gained so much traction. They allow us, as historian Warren Belasco neatly puts it, to believe we can have babies and steaks too.

And we really need to talk about it. In short, if like Bill, we try to solve issues of food security and environmental destruction through a product, or technology, we forget about the politics.

The kind of agricultural practice we adopt at once reflects and reinforces the approach we will utilize in all spheres of industrial and social life. It is therefore vital when considering ‘future foods’ to ask what forms of industrial and social life they would create. For those of us working on food issues, transforming the food system is a process of moral and political persuasion. It’s messy. It’s diverse. It involves being wrong. And at its core, it involves engaging people actively in the food system, not further divorcing them from it.

Those that use science to suggest that new food technologies and products will provide a magic fix for environmental and food security problems fail to understand that a technology is only ever as strong as the political, social and economic forces that promote it. A new meat-analogue is not automatically a “win” for the environment, a “win” for animals and a “win” for people. Tech-burgers will only ever do good in the world, for people, planet and animals, as part of a wider movement for human rights and social, ecological, animal justice.

These new meats are a like for like replacement of the old, but not only in taste. They do not aim to change the economic model or challenge the concentration of power in our food system.

George Monbiot acknowledges this risk but fails to fully grasp it. This is because the ideas that go into the bio-reactors of this new wave of tech foods dictate the ideas that come out. Techno-utopianists in richer countries provide the starting “culture” for this new wave of products. The products they will create will reflect their tastes and worldviews.

Despite its good intentions, the rewilding movement so central to Monbiot’s thinking has long been blinkered to the broader social justice implications of its work particularly in the Global South, failing to interrogate how its arguments can be co-opted and adopted to reinforce long-held and problematic visions of an environment without human influence.

It is therefore disappointing, but not surprising, to see Apocalypse Cow’s European bias exclude any reflection of what the potential impact would be on countries whose economies are centred around agriculture, forestry and fishing, where most of the world’s poorest also live. What would a rapid de-agrianisation mean for climate and food justice?

In my mind, products like the Impossible Burger and a 3D printed steak are analogous to geo-engineering technologies: carbon capture and storage and blasting mirrors into space to deflect the sun’s rays. Technological fixes that simplify the stupefying complexity behind global problems, providing hope for those with the luxury to contemplate – and buy it. These technological fixes have, in the past, largely been rejected by environmentalists like Monbiot because of the risks, not only environmentally, but in the delay afforded by faux-optimism and the potential for detrimental impacts. “Farm-free” foods will be just the same, a new hobby horse for venture capital while investors continue to provide financial fodder to industrial animal agriculture.

The past is littered with foods of the future. So, for the time being, invest in people, not in burgers. Innovation doesn’t always mean shiny new bio-reactors. It can be simple, new constellations of long-held wisdom; it can be new voices amplified and empowered and shifting away from problematic patterns of (Western) consumption. It could also, simply, be distributing the food we already produce more equitably: gleaning, feeding livestock on leftovers, reducing consumption of meat in countries that eat more than their fair share. Animals not alchemy; Ecology, not engineering; Planet and people, not products.

Image credit: Fabrice de Nola, 2008. Flesh Lab, digital C-Print, cm 60×90.

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Nine steps for Michael Gove to take towards a better food system

17th May 18 by Krysia Woroniecka

Brexit presents an opportunity for the health of people and soil, can the government sow the seeds of a better and fairer food system?

As you’ve no doubt heard, the UK is leaving the EU… and that means a chance to rethink how we subsidise and regulate our agricultural system. Over the past weeks, the government ran a consultation on their proposals for replacing Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after Brexit. Along with 44,000 other respondents to the consultation, Feedback had our say on what we think needs to change:

  1. European farming subsidies have long been unpopular with policymakers and some farmers alike because subsidies are linked to farmsize instead of outputs. The government is now considering how it should spend public money to incentivise farmers to achieve improvements in areas such as biodiversity, soil health and reducing carbon emissions. A great step in the right direction, but we think that growing healthy food also needs to be near the top of Michael Gove’s list – after all, the food that goes into good diets also turns out to be pretty good for the planet.
  2. The move away from rewarding big landowners for, well, having a lot of land, is vital – instead we’d like to see a mix of big and small farms that use sustainable methods (such as organic, agroforestry and a mix of different crops).
  3. And talking of farming methods, we aren’t keen on food crops being grown in order to produce energy rather than feeding people, such as maize, or lots of land being used to grow foods that nobody should be eating much of, such as sugar beet. In fact, we called on Gove to consider a cap on sugar production so we aren’t growing more than the UK population’s recommended daily allowance.
  4. In order to achieve these aims, the government will need to scratch their current definition of agricultural productivity. Instead of thinking purely in terms of pounds and pence, we argue that a farm’s productivity should be calculated in terms of nutritional value consumed per acre – i.e. how much good, healthy food is grown and eaten.
  5. Grown AND eaten – that bit’s important because as we all know, millions of tonnes of food to go waste every year, much of it on farms. That’s why one of our main recommendations to Mr. Gove was to create a target to halve food waste, including on farms.
  6. Of course there will always be some food waste that is no longer suitable for human consumption, and this should be fed to animals. We want the government to lift the ban on feeding food waste that may contain meat to omnivores – and many farmers agree with us. This will make feeding animals cheaper and mean importing less soya from abroad.
  7. The government can support a better food system by making sure that hospitals and schools buy their groceries from a variety of sustainable producers. We asked them to make their application forms easier and use what is known as the balanced scorecard approach to help smaller, local producers win contracts to supply local services.
  8. But not all government support needs to come in the form of payments. By helping farmers to form cooperatives and access shorter supply chains the government can ensure farmers receive more of each pound consumers spend on food.
  9. We must not undermine sound gains here with less sound grains from overseas…food coming from abroad should also meet our high standards- we want the government to uphold our right to eat food that is produced sustainably and with high standards of animal welfare. We don’t want to see food imports that simply move the environmental degradation elsewhere by out-sourcing the production of cheap food.

You can read about this and about our model for a sustainable food system in our full consultation response here. Brexit presents an opportunity for the health of people and soil, can the government sow the seeds of a better and fairer food system?



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Oh my gourd! Record breaking 25 tonnes of pumpkins rescued on Kent farm

8th Nov 17 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

25 tonnes is a serious amount of pumpkin.

Over 70 eager volunteers, including many young people, gathered on Saturday at Pumpkin Moon farm in Maidstone, to rescue over 25 tonnes – equivalent to 300,000 portions – of pumpkin from going to waste. With pumpkin and squash season in full swing, the ‘pick your own’ farm found itself with more fresh produce than it could sell, running the risk of the delicious veg joining the one third of food around the world that is wasted every year.

Luckily, Feedback’s Gleaning Network, and our team of eager volunteers, was there to step in. The Gleaning Network revives the ancient practice of gleaning – gathering up any leftovers after the harvest to ensure nothing that is good to eat goes to waste.

25 tonnes is a serious amount of pumpkin, which right now is making its way, via food redistribution charity FareShare, to frontline charities in over 20 cities around the country, feeding people in need. Gleaning brings you face to face with the terrifying reality of food waste on farms, but also provides a hands-on opportunity to do something about it, while meeting new people and having a great day out in the countryside. There are loads of gleans coming up over the next month or so – sign up to hear more.

It’s the season of plenty and farmers up and down the country are enjoying bumper crops of produce such as pumpkins, squash and apples. But sadly, not all of these delicious fruits and vegetables will find a good home. Every week, hundreds of tonnes of good food goes to waste on farms, for a variety of reasons, often including strict rules on how food must look in order to be stocked in supermarkets, last-minute order cancellations, and overproduction for fear of losing customers in lean years. Feedback campaigns to end the scandal of food waste and works to spread the word on the many delicious solutions – pumpkin pie anyone?

Our Gleaning Network is supported by Our Bright Future and

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Wondering what you can feed your pigs? There’s now an app for that!

18th Oct 17 by Christina O'Sullivan

Under current law certain food can be fed to pigs.

Our campaign, The Pig Idea, encourages the feeding of surplus food that is no longer fit for human consumption, to pigs.  We aim to lift the EU ban on feeding catering waste, or swill, to pigs.

Under current law certain food can be fed to pigs, for example, bread, dairy, fruit and vegetables. But the legislation is confusing and results in lots of permissible food not being fed to pigs because people are worried about getting it wrong. To address this, we have developed a prototype web app to help food businesses determine whether their surplus food is suitable for animal feed and navigate the relevant legislation.

The United Nations estimates that if farmers around the world fed their livestock on the food that we currently waste and on agricultural by-products, enough grain would be liberated to feed an extra three billion people. To help food businesses contribute to such a grand waste-free future, Feedback (as part of the Refresh Community of Experts) have developed the app for businesses to clarify which surplus food is suitable, and what needs to be done to send the food to animal feed in a safe and legal way.

The prototype tool is currently being validated by UK stakeholders and will be converted to the Spanish and Dutch contexts in the next year and a half. If you are interested in finding out more, or commenting on the test version, please get in touch with



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Why households alone can’t fix the food waste problem

24th Aug 17 by Christina O'Sullivan

Waste is a symptom of our broken food system

Click here to listen to an audio recording of this blog

It’s easy to assume that the bulk of the British food waste problem lies in household bins. The most recent figures suggest that a whopping 71% of food waste, post-farm gate, occurs at the household level. If this is true, then surely the food waste movement should be focusing its efforts solely on household food waste.

So why does Feedback keep banging on about supermarkets? Because it really isn’t that simple. Let’s figure out why.

We’ll show you ours if you show us yours…

The figure above, as convincing as it sounds that 71% of food waste stems from households, comes from WRAP’s detailed study of household food waste which is compared with data provided by the supermarkets and other up-stream actors in the food industry.

The trouble is that no one really knows how accurate most of that industry data is because, at present, only Sainsbury’s and Tesco release their food waste data to the public and only Tesco show figures on supply chain waste – the waste that occurs up-stream at the level of farms and other suppliers. None of these sources of data include the waste of fish at sea or the waste generated in production overseas. In contrast to this, our research has consistently shown that suppliers in the UK and overseas waste a colossal amount of food because of supermarket practices such as strict cosmetic specifications and last-minute order cancellations.

Our gleaning network, which rescues food from being wasted on farms, last year alone rescued over 1 million portions of fruit and veg. WRAP estimates that 3 million tonnes of food are being wasted on farms in the UK every year, but these estimates are based on very poor quality data, to the extent that WRAP no longer uses this probable under-estimate.

How can we make conclusions on the source of the UK’s food waste problem with inaccurate data? The answer is we can’t, which is why we call on supermarkets to be transparent on their food waste across the supply chain.

Eternal abundance

If you’re like 95% of the UK population, the likelihood is that you visited one of the big four supermarkets at some point this week. Supermarkets dominate our experience of buying food, and their marketing practices have a bigger influence on what and how we buy and use food than you might think. Take their displays of fruit and veg, typically positioned near the entrance to the supermarket or the strategy of stocking the aisles with far more food than will be bought at any one time, giving the illusion of an endless abundance of food.

When supermarkets first opened in the UK people were afraid to pick up items and put them in their trolley for fear of being told off. Now we have the opposite problem; we can’t stop ourselves from picking stuff up! Supermarket marketing strategies cause us to over-spend and their own buying policies force farmers to overproduce.

So, food waste at home caused by buying more than you can get through – exacerbated by supermarket promotions and deals – is not a problem that occurs in a vacuum. Yes, we should all eat what we buy and only buy what we’ll eat, but we should also call on our supermarkets to take responsibility for their part in this waste equation.

We are all products of our environment and supermarkets have worked hard and poured money into developing an environment that indirectly encourages us to waste food. To tackle the consumer food waste issue, supermarkets should fund consumer waste analyses based on where people shop to highlight what supermarket policies reduce waste and which drive it. The harsh reality here is that, in-order-to achieve the implementation of these kind of initiatives to help reduce waste, external pressure will need to be put on supermarkets who ultimately benefit financially from over-purchasing and the inevitable associated food waste which comes as a result. That’s why we keep banging on about Supermarkets!

Waste is a symptom of our broken food system

Ultimately to truly solve the food waste problem, the way we buy food will have to undergo a radical makeover. Even Tesco, who has made a very public commitment to food waste transparency and reduction, saw its food waste tonnage actually increase last year year, coming to a staggering total of 59,400 tonnes of food that was never eaten. Why does waste keep going up even though Tesco are throwing money and resources at the problem?

The answer lies in our current food system, in which waste is a symptom of overproduction and where no single actor takes responsibility for the amount of waste resulting from this unsustainable system. You cannot uncouple the current supermarket model from waste, this is evident from the limited success of food waste initiatives by supermarkets with WRAP’s study showing that retailers have only managed to reduce their food waste by 15% from 2007 to 2015.

Our new model for a more sustainable food system emphasizes the need for more holistic thinking where, at both retail and consumption stage, food ‘waste’ is recognized for its true value, and can still realise its primary purpose – to be consumed – through innovative redistribution. This recovery of surplus (as well as avoiding overproduction in the first place) creates closed loops within the food system that are vital to ultimately tackling the status quo.

The current supermarket model can’t exist without waste. Pragmatism is required from supermarkets in order to both create a system that generates less waste and to create an environment that encourages consumers to do the same.


Please help us put pressure on supermarkets by sharing on Twitter here.


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A sneak peek at Feedback’s new model for the food system

13th Jul 17 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

Food waste is just one symptom of a very big problem

At Feedback, we have always argued that food waste is just one symptom of our dysfunctional food system (see our founder’s TED talk from 2012) – a system which produces too much food, and fails to use it efficiently, leading to both waste and hunger. What’s more, in the process of producing and wasting all this food, our food system is seriously damaging our planet. Our food system needs to change.

But what does that change look like? We’ve taken a close look at the answer to this question, and come up with our proposal for what needs to happen.

Our broken food system

What’s wrong with the way we produce food now? Our food system is broken, firstly because it is linear – in other words food travels in one direction, from production and processing, to consumption and disposal. In the process, huge quantities of resources are used to grow and transform our food, including petrochemicals and fossil fuel energy. Then we generate significant amounts of pollution in disposing of it, for example through landfill.

The second problem is that our food system is growing beyond what our planet can sustain. All along the process of growing, processing, distributing and consuming food, vast amounts go to waste (a third of all food grown, it is estimated). And because no one bears the cost of these losses, nor of the wider environmental impacts of agriculture, our food system is characterised by overproduction. Despite the fact that millions of people go hungry worldwide, millions also suffer the health costs of overconsumption – and we all suffer the environmental impacts of wasting precious water, land and energy on growing food that is never eaten. The fact is, we don’t need a bigger food system, we need a better one.

Here’s what our current, linear food system looks like:

Building a better, more circular food system

We want to build a better food system: one that isn’t linear, but circular. This better food system would gobble fewer resources to produce food, and lose far less food in the form of waste. In fact, a defining principle of our circular food system is that food previously seen as ‘waste’ actually has value, and can be used as a resource. Ideally this surplus food should be used for the purpose it was originally intended: usually this means that if food is still fit for human consumption, it should feed people. If not, it should be repurposed to feed livestock and fish, and finally, fed to soils through compost and manure. All three levels of the food system – humans, animals and soils – need to be fed and replenished to create a sustainable future.

As what was formerly seen as ‘waste’ is reused, less waste pollution through landfill disposal is created, and less resources are needed to produce food in the first place (because we are using almost all of it, instead of throwing it away, we don’t need to produce as much). Overproduction is reined in. These ‘best use loops’ create a small, circular, low-waste system that fits within the limits of our planet, while feeding everyone on a fair basis.

A sustainable food system:


That’s where we need to get to – and pretty quickly, because currently our food system is the single biggest problem standing in the way of tackling climate change, biodiversity loss and other major environmental problems. And we think we have some great ideas for how to do that. This summer, we’re putting the finishing touches on a range of new projects to take the next step towards a better, more sustainable food system. To be the first to hear the news you can sign up to our mailing list by taking the food waste pledge.

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Feedback responds to reports The Real Junk Food Project under investigation for using food past its use by date

6th Jun 17 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

For immediate release.

In response to news reports that Adam Smith, co-founder and director of The Real Junk Food Project, is under investigation by West Yorkshire Shared Services Trading Standards for using food in its cafes that are past their use-by dates, Carina Millstone, Feedback’s Executive Director said:

“We are appalled to hear that Adam Smith, director of The Real Junk Food Project is under investigation for serving ‘out-of-date’ food.

It has been proved time and again that date labels, particularly best before dates, are confusing, often inaccurate, and lead to food waste both in shops and in homes when people mistakenly bin food that’s still good to eat. While ‘use by’ dates on some products are important for food safety, there’s a debate to be had on how widely applied these labels are, sometimes to food that really doesn’t need them. Only a month ago, a committee of MPs agreed with Feedback that ‘current date labelling is potentially misleading and unnecessarily confusing for customers’.

The real crime here is the waste that is caused when people throw perfectly edible food away, because they are confused about which labels are important to follow and which are just guidelines. For example, ‘best before’ labels, which have nothing to do with food safety, often cause confusion. Supermarkets can and must find other ways to ensure effective stock rotation than misleading labels that help no one and cause vast amounts of waste.

The Real Junk Food Project has been rightly feted for saving thousands of tonnes of food from an early grave and feeding thousands of people a good, healthy and delicious meal at their cafes. It’s time we all learned to trust our senses on when food is good to eat – and it’s time we found a better way to label our food to ensure nothing needlessly goes to waste.”


Click here for previous press releases and contact details.

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MPs call for national food waste target

1st May 17 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

Feedback welcomes the publication of the recent Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report on food waste in England. As expert witnesses to the Committee, we are pleased that the Committee clearly recognises the high environmental cost of food waste, and has taken up many of our recommendations.

We particularly welcome the Committee’s recommendation on the adoption of a national food waste reduction target. In setting this target, we call for a target that exceeds the UN’s global goal of halving food waste and reducing food loss, by 2030. With existing private and third sector initiatives on food waste, we believe England is well-placed to show global leadership in combatting food waste and its environmental consequences, and meet this target by 2025.

We also welcome the Committee’s reaffirming of the need to uphold the food waste pyramid and an incentive system that encourages its implementation, putting prevention first, redistributing where possible and transforming unavoidable waste using the least environmentally damaging methods available.

While we applaud the leadership shown by some retailers in food waste reduction, we share the Committee’s view on the limits of voluntary approaches to food waste reduction in the private sector. We welcome the Committee’s call for transparency on food waste, and mandatory, comparable reporting on food waste for businesses above a certain size. We believe reporting should cover both operational and key supply hotspots, and highlight how trading practices drive food waste across the supply chain.

Our research suggests that one of the main causes of farm-level waste in the UK is overly rigid aesthetic specifications for produce; we welcome the Committee’s recommendation to loosen these. In this regard, we further call for supermarkets to disclose their cosmetic specifications for fresh produce.

In combating household-level food waste, we share the Committee’s view that much work remains to be done. We believe that the laudable initiatives to date in this area have shown the limits of awareness raising in achieving household behaviour change; we urge the government to further explore how supermarkets marketing, promotional and packaging practices drive overconsumption and waste. A study of household waste according to where households shop could usefully inform work in this area.

The report highlights that separation of food waste from other wastes remains woefully inadequate for English household waste, and non-existent for business waste: we urge the government to work closely with local authorities to urgently increase food waste separation, a necessary condition for recovery for animal feed or energy from waste.

Despite the Committee’s highlighting of the waste hierarchy, the report is disappointingly quiet on the possibility of diverting food waste away from anaerobic digestion and landfill for animal feed. We urge the government to investigate the large-scale feeding of food waste to livestock, a measure that would have considerable environmental benefit in England and internationally, and would help English farmers save costs.

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Introducing our new Executive Director

13th Feb 17 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

We’re delighted to announce that our new Executive Director will shortly be joining us. Carina Millstone will join the Feedback team on 20 March.

Carina replaces co-founder Niki Charalampopoulou as Executive Director, though Niki will remain with Feedback in an advisory and ambassadorial capacity. We send Niki off on her next adventures with peas, love and gratitude and we look forward to drawing on her expertise in the future.

Carina is the founder of The Orchard Project, a charity working with community groups in cities across the UK to plant and nurture community orchards. She has also worked for Environmental Resources Management, the New Economy Coalition and Changing Markets. She has been a Visiting Research Fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute, and is a Fellow of the Schumacher Institute. She is the author of a forthcoming book, Frugal Value, on the role of the private sector in sustainable consumption and production.

Carina says:

‘I am delighted to be have been appointed the Executive Director of Feedback, the only global campaigning organisation dedicated to cutting out food waste at all levels of the supply chain. While agriculture continues to take a dangerous toll on our climate, biodiversity and water, a staggering one-third of food produced globally is never eaten. At Feedback, we intend to put an end to this scandal, making sure all food is nourishment rather than waste – thus improving the environmental efficiency of food production and consumption and driving the shift to a global, sustainable food system that we so urgently require.’

We can’t wait to welcome Carina to the food waste movement and look forward to updating you on our upcoming work under her leadership. You can read the full press release announcing her appointment here.

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Find out why Martin had 200 kilos of parsnips in his bedroom…

7th Dec 16 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

Our star Gleaning Coordinator Martin delivered this amazing TEDx talk in Bath this month to over one thousand young people. Watch Martin talk us through his journey to becoming a food waste campaigner – including how he ended up picking his way through parsnips just to reach his desk.

Watch Martin’s talk and share it on Facebook or Twitter.

The parsnips may be long gone to great causes, but Martin has been hard at work all year with his colleagues and over 1000 volunteers, gleaning fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste and getting it to hungry mouths.

The gleaning season is over for this year, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on the fight against food waste. There’s still so much to do – from organising your own ‘Feeding the 5000’ to serve up some delicious food waste solutions, to joining our campaigning for supermarkets to simplify their date labels.

As always, the best place to start is by taking the food waste pledge – pledging to do your bit to reduce your own food waste and calling on retailers and businesses to do theirs.

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Everyone agrees that food waste is a scandal; now citizens must hold the industry accountable

8th Aug 16 by fb_admin

Hear ye, hear ye: Feedback’s Managing Director Niki Charalampopoulou is on Huffington Post’s RECLAIM front page today (8 August 2016) as a guest contributor.

Niki notes that food waste is an unusual dilemma in that there are no clear opponents of reducing food waste — and that it is for this reason that it takes a concerted effort to hold every stakeholder accountable, from policymakers to supermarkets and the greater food industry in general.

Feedback has been doing this since our founding in 2009. Niki specifically highlights the pledge we have asked people to sign this year to take #FoodWaste #OffTheMenu. Indeed, all of our campaigns centre on holding industry to account.

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Tell American supermarkets to stop using confusing date labels that cause food waste

20th Jul 16 by fb_admin

In building our Feeding the 5000 campaign in the US, we developed a four-course menu of actions to take #FoodWaste #OffTheMenu. Our first course in this pledge is for simple date labels that don’t confuse people into throwing away food unnecessarily. On Monday July 18, we launched a petition to make this happen in the US, as part of Huffington Post’s #Reclaim campaign.

The one missing ingredient is a resounding public voice creating a mandate for this common-sense reform.

The US has seen a lot of noise on date label reform lately. See this article in the Economist, this video by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, and this article about our petition in Huffington Post. In addition to this increased awareness, concrete action is in the works on various fronts:

– Walmart has asked its private brand suppliers to adopt a standardized date label for all foods that do not require date labels for safety reasons.

– There are moves to pass federal legislation on this bipartisan issue of standardizing date labels to clear up the confusion

– Behind the scenes, the two key industry groups on this issue – the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute – have organized a working group with experts from manufacturing and retail companies to develop a voluntary industry standard for date labels.

We’re excited by all this noise and action. The one missing ingredient is a resounding public voice creating a mandate for this common-sense reform. Our hope is that this petition helps create this public mandate.

Help us promote the petition by tweeting

We’ve put together some sample tweets:

Supermarkets’ confusing date labels cause #FoodWaste. Take it #OffTheMenu with simpler #DateLabels

Sell by, best before, use by, consume by — no one agrees what these phrases mean. Reduce #FoodWaste, confusion

Support @Feedbackorg #reclaim petition calling for simpler #DateLabels to reduce #FoodWaste

Please also tweet @ the supermarkets themselves, especially if you are their customer:

What is the weirdest, silliest date labels that you can find?

Seen an especially weird, silly, or downright comical date label? Please email it to us or hit us up on instagram or Twitter.

But most importantly, please share and sign the petition

Petition sign now

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Tesco CEO calls on retailers to release food waste data

17th Jun 16 by fb_admin

In a speech yesterday at the Global Summit of the Consumer Goods Forum, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis called for other retailers to follow Tesco’s example and openly publish their food waste data.

In 2013, Tesco responded to pressure by Feedback’s longstanding campaign and our direct challenge to the retailer and published third party audited figures of how much food it wastes in its UK operations as well as identifying food waste hot spots in its supply chain.

Disappointingly, none of the other retailers has taken up our challenge to follow suit. Retailers continue to report their food waste data secretively, with the British Retail Consortium only publishing an annual aggregate figure for the whole industry, which does not include data on supply chain food waste.

Any retailer that is serious about tackling food waste can no longer afford to be secretive about how much they waste.

In the latest voluntary agreement by the food industry to tackle food waste, known as the Courtauld Commitment 2025, we were disappointed to see that retailers had only agreed to publish one aggregate food waste figure for the whole industry instead of reporting company-specific food waste figures. Noting this move by Tesco, a signatory of the commitment, we wrote: “Other retailers should follow suit and openly publish how much food they individually waste so they can be held accountable to public scrutiny and begin a race to the top to prove which supermarket is least wasteful.”

Supermarkets play a pivotal role in the food supply chain. They drive food waste upstream by imposing strict cosmetic standards on suppliers and by using outsize market power over suppliers that encourage overproduction in order to meet last-minute order changes. Supermarkets also cause consumer food waste through portion sizing and marketing techniques that cause consumers to buy more than they use.

We can only change behaviour when we measure it accurately and transparently. This logic applies to entities other than supermarkets, too, such as individual countries. For this reason, we have formed a coalition with eight other environmental groups asking the EU to standardise food waste measurement across member states.

Partly because supermarkets consistently refuse to be forthright about their food waste, we worked with Kerry McCarthy MP on a food waste reduction bill that included the requirement of large supermarkets and manufacturers to publish and transparently report their food waste across their supply chains. (Read more here.)

The government shelved the bill, but the need to push supermarkets on this issue remains. This is a wake up call for the retailer industry in the UK and around the world. Any retailer that is serious about tackling food waste can no longer afford to be secretive about how much they waste.

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Launch of Feedback’s Social Impact Report 2014/15

10th Dec 15 by fb_admin

Have a look at Feedback’s Social Impact Report Here

Food waste poses a huge environmental and social threat on a global scale. At the same time it offers one of the biggest opportunities for reducing our environmental impact whilst increasing food availability where it is needed most. The Feedback team have built a reputation as global thought leaders and a hub of international mobilisation on the issue.

Our goal is to achieve significant and measurable reductions in food waste on a global scale and in this way dramatically reduce the environmental impact of our food system.

In the past year we have made progress against our goal in a number of ways; through galvanising public action, movement building, influencing policy, and supply chain investigations.

Galvanising public action

We have seen our reach grow across Europe, to countries including Poland, Hungary, Spain, Belgium, and Greece amongst many others. In the UK, we have held a number of successful Feeding the 5000 and Disco Soup events. Our Gleaning Network has gone from strength to strength, saving over 142 tonnes of food that would have been wasted, engaging over 8,000 volunteers and expanding across the UK and Europe.

Movement Building141018_7823

Partnerships are at the heart of Feedback’s work – we aim to build local coalitions of grassroots organisations, larger NGOs and stakeholders to create a food waste movement that thrives long after Feeding the 5000 has finished. We worked with one such grassroots movement, Disco Soupe, a celebratory chopping event whereby attendees transform fruit and vegetable waste or unsold food in to meals in a musical and festive atmosphere. The format has now spread across Europe and in to the US and Kenya as a result of Feedback’s work.

Influencing Policy

As well as working with grassroots groups and the public to create exciting and celebratory food waste initiatives, Feedback also offers expert advice and recommendations to international institutions (UN, European Commission), politicians, and decision-makers in the food industry. We were instrumental in persuading Tesco to become the world’s first retailer to commit to publicly reporting their audited food waste data.
We also successfully campaigned for the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill which legislates to create fairer supermarket supply chains. The Pig idea campaign has re-ignited the debate around feeding food waste to pigs and Carrefour have publicly acknowledged Feedback’s influence in driving their actions to reduce food waste.

Supply Chain Investigations

noyellow.ppicngOur work to uncover the hidden causes of food waste has led Feedback to step up our work in the Global South, investigating supply chain waste in Africa and Latin America caused by Western supermarkets.

In 2014/15 we grew in terms of size and reach, but also in the number of campaigns that we now run. We continue to work on the Pig Idea, Gleaning Network and Feeding the 5000. We also kicked off Stop Dumping, a campaign calling for an end to unfair trade practices by western supermarkets that lead to huge amounts of waste in the supply chain both at home and in the global south. Our staff and volunteers in Brussels have also launched the Food Surplus Entrepreneurs Network, designed to harness and support the huge and growing interest in creating social enterprises and innovations using food that would have been wasted.

To learn more about our impact from 2014/15 please download Feedback’s Social Impact Report.



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