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Rebecca Wayman

Government invests over £4m to tackle England's worrying food waste

The government has awarded more than £4m to four redistribution organisations to help overcome the barriers of food waste.

The successful bids - from Fareshare, Company Shop Group, The Felix Project and Food Works Sheffield - will receive funding through the first tranche of a £15m scheme, which was launched in January by environment secretary Michael Gove.

The projects could enable existing food redistribution companies to take more surplus food from manufacturers and retailers and stop it going to waste.

The companies had to demonstrate the solutions they would take, including developing new supply routes from growers and local distributors, funding new lines and additional staff and increasing capacity for repackaging and labelling.

Environment minister, Thérèse Coffey, said: “Food waste is unnecessary and morally unforgivable. We must end it, and our £15m fund is a true game-changer in making that happen.

“I am thrilled that this first round of funding will allow these terrific projects to redistribute even more perfectly good food, making sure it ends up where it belongs - on people’s plates and stomachs.”

A further round of funding will focus on improving infrastructure for companies to redistribute even more of the estimated 100,000 tonnes of food - equating to 250 million meals a year - which is edible and readily available but goes uneaten.

Instead, this food is currently sent away for generating energy from waste, anaerobic digestion or animal feed.

Jo Hercberg, founder of Food Works Sheffield, added: “At Food Works Sheffield we believe in building a fairer and more sustainable food system.

“A big part of this is reducing food waste so being awarded some of the Food Waste Fund will really help us achieve this goal in 2019. As a relatively small and new project we’re delighted to have been considered alongside the large national organisations.”

The government’s £15m scheme to tackle food waste builds on its Resources and Waste Strategy, setting out how the government will introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses.

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