Food waste in Wales 'costs £610m per year'

Wate food Waste food will be used to make compost

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Edible food worth £610m is thrown away in Wales every year, a new report says.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) said 210,000 tonnes of food which could be eaten is dumped.

The publicly-funded recycling group said buying too much, serving large portions and confusion over "best before" labels were the main causes.

Wrap said the average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, at a total cost of £12.5bn a year.

The organisation advised people to understand the difference between "best before" and "use by" dates.

Guidance from the Food Standards Agency says "best before" refers to food quality while "use by" is a warning about safety.

The top three foods people in the UK throw away includes bread, potatoes and milk.

'Seriously worried'

However, the report also suggested, since 2007, the total amount of household food and drink waste - including unavoidable waste - has fallen in Wales by 65,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes.

Wrap chief executive Dr Liz Goodwin asked the government and supermarkets to take action.

FOOD LABELLING

  • Best before is about quality not safety. Food should be safe to eat after this date, but it might not be at its best. One exception is eggs
  • Use by is the key date in terms of safety. Never eat food after this date. Found on cooked meats, soft cheeses and dairy-based desserts
  • Sell-by and display-until dates are for the retailer, not the customer and are mainly used for stock control purposes
  • Source: Food Standards Agency

She said: "Consumers are seriously worried about the cost of food and how it has increased over recent years. Yet as Wrap's research shows, we are still wasting millions of tonnes and billions of pounds.

"The UK is leading the way in tackling food waste and the 21% cut is a terrific achievement by millions of people who have taken action, saved money and helped safeguard our natural resources. However, there is so much more to go for and I believe we should be going for it."

Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies said: "Tackling avoidable food waste is key to Wales moving towards zero waste, so I welcome the findings of this report.

"Welsh households have made good progress in reducing the amount of food we waste, but there is still more to be done.

"As food costs rise, we can all take steps to save money and make the most of the food we have bought."

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