The value of food waste

Food waste is a valuable resource that should never end up in landfill sites. Everyone from the food producer, through to the retailer, the restaurant and the householder can play their part in ensuring that we take full advantage of its considerable potential, by ensuring we re-use, recycle and recover every nutrient and kilowatt of energy it has to offer.

Solutions for surplus food

Food re-distribution

Food re-distribution takes surplus but edible food and re-distributes it to people in need. FareShare, the Trussell Trust and Plan Zheroes are just a few examples of organisations operating in this field. Since the recession, the number of food banks has grown rapidly to more than 250 and new food banks are opening at a rate of three a week.37

Animal Feed

The UK animal feed industry comprises 25 reprocessors, which handle over 550,000 tonnes of surplus food from the manufacturing, retail and distribution sectors.38 Only certain materials are suitable for feeding to livestock and poultry, due to the risk associated with feeding animal proteins to animals of the same species. However, in most cases, this represents a more economically-viable solution than either landfill or incineration.

Pet Food

The pet food sector produced more than 1.26m tonnes of pet foods in 2011, with a value of £2.14bn.39 This encompasses both 'Wet' ABPs, such as hearts, lungs, kidneys and giblets, and ‘Dry’ ABPs, such as bone. Both products have a commercial value depending upon volume, material type and location.


Rendering processes around 2.25m tonnes per annum.40 It is also an essential part of the UK food supply chain and critical in safeguarding bio-security. The use of rendered products (PAP, MBM and tallow) is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 70,000 tonnes per annum.41

37 Trussell Trust 2013

38 European Former Foodstuff Processors Association (EFFPA)

39 Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA)

40 Estimate from Fabra for WRAP report Estimates of waste in the food and drink supply chain 2013

41 Environment, Science & Technology, 2011