Manufacturers reduce food waste by 30% within a decade

28 January 2020

The FDF has today published the latest annual progress report for its Ambition 2025 environmental targets, showing that the food and drink manufacturing sector delivered a reduction in food waste of over 30% on a per capita basis since 2011. 


The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has today published the latest annual progress report for its Ambition 2025 environmental targets, showing that the food and drink manufacturing sector delivered a reduction in food waste of over 30% on a per capita basis since 2011.

This represents a significant contribution to a reduction in food waste of 13.4% across the supply chain during the same time period, as first published in the recent Courtauld 2025 milestone report for 2015-2018.

In 2019, FDF signed up to the UK Government's Step up to the Plate initiative, which aims to halve the UK's total food waste by 2030. FDF and member companies are also supporters of WRAP's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. This initiative is helping food businesses to take targeted action to reduce waste in their own operations, their supply chain and in the home.

The latest progress report also shows that FDF members have halved their CO2 emissions since 1990, having reduced total emissions by 53.2%. As a result, FDF members are well on their way to achieving the ambition to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2025.

FDF members have also delivered a 38.5% reduction in water consumption between 2007 and 2018. The amount of water consumed per tonne of product was reduced by 39.6% over the same period.

Food and drink manufacturers also recognise their role in minimising the impact of used packaging associated with food and drink products, to support the need for producer responsibility reform and to build a truly circular economy for food and drink packaging in the UK. FDF and several members are founding signatories to the UK Plastics Pact. Our role is to encourage wider member engagement in this programme of work, as set out in the UK Plastics Pact Roadmap, and help deliver the targets.

Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer, Food and Drink Federation, said:

“Our members have taken truly impressive steps to reduce food waste. Food and drink manufacturers have continued to make significant contributions to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of halving per capita global food waste by 2030.

“The way we do business still needs to be transformed. Over the coming year the Food and Drink Federation will be undertaking a major mid-term review of Ambition 2025 to ensure it reflects our vision for a thriving, responsible and sustainable food and drink industry. We look forward to embracing this opportunity with our members.”

Dr David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration WRAP, said:

“The contribution manufacturers have made to the reduction in UK food waste is significant and critical – almost 400,000 tonnes less than in 2011.

We know that those businesses that have engaged with the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and implemented a strategy of Target, Measure, Act have saved millions of pounds of food from being wasted, but action by many more businesses is needed if we are to achieve our collective targets.

WRAP has an experienced team of experts providing guidance and support to large businesses from all sectors, and I would encourage FDF members and others to take advantage of this in advance of mandatory reporting being introduced, which all UK governments will be consulting on.”

Notes for editors:

  1. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more information about FDF and the industry we represent visit:
  2. The progress report in full.
  3. This publication is accompanied by case studies from FDF member companies Border Biscuits, British Sugar, Kellogg's, KP Snacks, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Macphie, Mondelez, Nestle, Paterson Arran, Rebel Kitchen, Tate & Lyle Sugars and Unilever. The case studies detail the steps member companies have taken on packaging, transport, food waste, sustainable supply chains, natural capital, water and carbon emissions. View the supporting case studies.
  4. Ambition 2025 is a set of industry-wide commitments to further reduce environmental impacts, protect natural capital, and contribute to the delivery of a sustainable food system for the future.
  5. The Courtauld 2025 milestone report for 2015-2018