Food: Waste

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th March 2022.

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Photo of Lord Lebedev Lord Lebedev Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide financial incentives to farmers to ensure surplus food can be given to charities and food banks, as well as sent to anaerobic digestion plants.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Since 2017, Defra has made a series of grants available to help the redistribution sector in their important work. Nearly £12 million has been awarded to over 250 large and small organisations across the country for the provision of, for example, warehousing, vehicles, fridges and freezers to get more surplus food to those who have a need. With the infrastructure support that has been provided, we believe these projects will continue to reduce food waste and deliver safe discounted food for many years to come.

Defra is committed to the WRAP-led Food Waste Reduction Roadmap which supports business to waste less through the Target, Measure and Act approach. By measuring and acting on waste more surplus will be redistributed.

Whatever preventative and reduction actions are taken, some food waste will arise. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the Government's preferred option for recycling food that eventually ends up in waste. We want to prioritise prevention of waste and therefore avoid financial incentives for farmers to send food to AD instead of redistribution. In most cases, AD plants charge a 'gate fee' to treat food waste used as a feedstock.

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