Food waste – improving large food business waste reporting

21 July 2022

Poultry Horticulture and potatoes Farm business
A picture of lots of food on a compost heap

Defra has opened a consultation on improved reporting of food waste by large food businesses in England. We are formulating a response to the consultation and welcome your input. Find out how to feed in your views. 

13 June 2022

Defra seeks views on different options to improve food waste reporting by large food businesses in England

On 13 June 2022 Defra launched a consultation on improved reporting of food waste by large food businesses in England. 

The consultation closes on 5 September 2022.

You can read about the consultation at: Defra | Improved reporting of food waste.

Government proposals

The proposals outline Defra’s plan to legislate for the measurement and reporting of food waste for large food businesses in England.

Although primary producers are not included in these proposals, secondary businesses such as large food packing businesses may be caught by the proposed changes.

Large businesses are defined by the Companies Act 2006 as exceeding two or more of the following criteria within a financial year:

  • Annual turnover of £36 million
  • Annual balance sheet total of £18 million
  • 250 employees

Different options

The consultation proposes three policy options for review:

  1. Do-nothing option – this would mean maintaining current measures.
  2. Option 1 – enhance current voluntary agreements by extending the Field Force, which is a team of sector specialists, to accelerate the take-up of voluntary measurement and reporting of food waste by businesses.
  3. Option 2 – require food waste measurement and reporting for large food businesses.

Option 2 is the focus of most of the consultation and associated impact assessment.

Concerns

We have concerns that option 2 may impact those involved in horticulture or poultry who have large packing businesses alongside their production facilities.

The proposals involve mandating large businesses to measure and report food waste to the Environment Agency, based on the overall weight of any associated waste.

The reporting of the first set of data would be 2024/2025 financial year.

NFU response

We are drafting a response to the consultation and welcome views from NFU members. 

If you think you may be impacted by these proposals please contact Aidan Gill to share your views. 

To aid your responses we have summarised the consultation in this briefing: NFU briefing - Defra consultation on reporting of food waste by large businesses in England

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Consultation Waste

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Summary

  • The proposals outline Defra’s plan to legislate for the measurement and reporting of food waste for large food businesses in England.
  • There are three policy options for review – maintaining current measures, extending the Field Force or require food waste measurement and reporting. 
  • Our concerns are the third option may impact horticulture and poultry businesses who have large packing businesses alongside their production facilities.