Report: waste reduction delivers fivefold return

A new report says that food retailers get back at least £5 for every £1 they invest in waste reduction.

The report, entitled “The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste” was commissioned by Champions 12.3, a pressure group launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year.

The report’s headline finding was that for every £1 invested in reducing food waste, half the business sites it studied had at least a £14 return. A closer look at the data reveals findings that are less dramatic but still compelling for bakers and other food retailers.

The authors analysed nearly 1,200 business sites across 17 countries including 700 companies in food manufacturing, food retail, food service and hospitality. They found that the sites “nearest to the fork” made the most savings by actively pursuing waste reduction initiatives.

For example, workplace canteens can make the 14:1 benefit-cost ratio – where £1 invested gives a £14 benefit – fairly easily. The report claims that  for grocery retailers the benefit cost ratio is generally around 5:1.

The authors say that interviews with public and private sector decision-makers indicate that many leaders may not be aware – or may not believe – that there is a solid “business case” for reducing food loss and waste.

They say: “The associated costs of food loss and waste may be buried in operational budgets, accepted as the ‘cost of doing business,’ or considered not worth the investment needed to achieve reductions.”

Nevertheless, there’s a feelgood factor for British readers. According to the report’s authors, both the country as a whole and London in particular are huge success stories when it comes to reducing food waste.

They estimate that between 2007 and 2012, the UK spent around £26 million on waste reduction initiatives that resulted in a £6.6 billion saving in real terms, delivering a benefit-cost ratio of more than 250:1.

Champions 12.3 was named after target 12.3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030. The group describes itself as a coalition of CEOs, politicians, researchers and farming groups. Board members include execs from Tesco, Nestlé and Kellogg’s.

If you would like to talk about how your business can cut waste and increase sales with Cybake solutions, why not get in touch today?

Learn more:

Blog: How in-store bakery waste reduction can be an easy win for supermarkets. Although bakery waste reduction may appear to be a thorny problem, we believe that it is relatively easy to reduce surplus in-store bakery production by at least 20%.

Blog: How bakers lose out with standing orders. Standing orders, as their name implies, are static; sales-based orders are dynamic, explains Rob McIlroy.

Blog: Forecasting: how 90,000 tonnes of waste can earn you cash and kudos. Want to get to grips with your waste? It’s easier than you think if you can address four key issues, says Martin Coyle.