Tackling on-farm food waste key to increasing profits by a fifth

Tackling on-farm food waste key to increasing profits by a fifth

2 Sep 2021

A new report from WRAP reveals farmers could achieve a potential 20% increase in profits by reducing surplus and wasted food.

Field studies conducted by WRAP across a range of products demonstrated that improvements in data and measurement are key to waste reduction. Levels of food surplus and waste on-farm were often higher than expected, with significant variability observed between farms, which suggests potential to improve performance within existing practices.

Financial analysis of five classic British foods showed the following potential profit gains if all farmers achieved best in class performance:

  • Carrots – 33%
  • Eggs – 24%
  • Potatoes – 23%
  • Strawberries – 19%
  • Apples – 15%.

Key findings from WRAP’s work:

  • Engaging the whole supply chain is fundamental. Factors elsewhere in the supply chain, such as lack of viable secondary markets, customer specifications, and supply and demand imbalances were identified as major drivers of surplus and waste on farm, and many of these cannot be addressed by growers alone.
  • To encourage engagement with the issue, it is important to communicate the benefits to monitoring on-farm, in particular the financial ones.
  • Measurement and data are central to reducing on farm food surplus and waste, and engagement with farmers and sector specialists through field trials such as these helps raise the profile of data collection.
  • There is a need for data collection on a much larger scale and WRAP is working to upskill the sector so they can recreate the success of the pilots.

WRAP’s report states: ‘Tackling waste in primary production is a crucial element of transforming our entire supply chain so that we can build a food system which supports healthy citizens, a health economy and a healthy planet… Reducing food waste, from farm to fork, is imperative to achieving Net Zero – and the goals of COP26 this November.’

You can find out how research with Ribena at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I and their blackcurrant suppliers addressed on-farm food surplus and waste in the WRAP report.

The report on farmer-led pilot studies can be found here.

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2 Sep 2021