IGD launches resources to help industry accelerate food surplus redistribution


With 16% of adults (one in six people) across England, Wales and Northern Ireland experiencing food insecurity,[1] IGD is driving positive change on food redistribution with the launch of new online resources to help businesses accelerate the amount of food that is redistributed.

IGD strives to make a positive difference to society by working in partnership with the food and consumer goods industry to address the economic, social and environmental issues that matter to us all. One of those issues is food redistribution. A total of 74,000 tonnes of food surplus was redistributed from across retail and manufacturing in 2020. However, there is an estimated 165,000 tonnes of food surplus available for redistribution annually within these sectors, which is equivalent to 390 million meals[2] and there is a huge opportunity to take collective action.

IGD has joined forces with Ben Elliot, Food Surplus and Waste Champion for Defra, WRAP, industry and redistributors to create its new resources, which includes the compelling business case for redistribution, advice on how redistribution partners can help businesses tackle food waste and impactful, practical tools to help accelerate redistribution.

Susan Barratt, IGD CEO, said: “Even the most efficient food businesses generate unsold surplus food. The first priority for any business is to reduce the amount of surplus it generates. For any remaining surplus, there’s an opportunity to redistribute, which covers a range of channels including commercial outlets, charities and community groups. By increasing the amount of food we redistribute, our industry has an enormous opportunity to drive positive change and be a force for good.

“There’s also a compelling business case. We know that reducing food loss and waste is a key opportunity for businesses to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, driving efficient supply chains and reducing waste should be a priority for businesses; it makes financial sense, helps communities, and reduces the impact on the planet.

“With our unique ability to bring together stakeholders from across the whole food and consumer goods system, IGD has worked with our industry and collated feedback to create this new set of online redistribution tools and resources. We hope it is both inspiring and useful in helping your business take action. We need your feedback so we can continue to progress our vital redistribution work and help others to do the same, so please get in touch with us as we continue our redistribution journey.”

Ben Elliot, Government Food Waste Champion, said: “When you consider the love, care and passion that goes into the food we grow, produce, sell and serve – wasting this food is just wrong. Tackling food waste is an opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment, achieve our Net Zero targets and is critical to ensuring our businesses are as competitive as they can be.

“In these unprecedented times, demand for charities and community groups and the services they provide has never been higher. Ensuring all surplus food that is safe for people to eat is made available and redistributed is a key way in which we can support those most in need and ensure good food is put to good use.”

This is the second phase of IGD’s work on redistribution, with a guide for industry launched in May. Feedback from the guide has helped IGD shape this new set of online resources, to make them as useful as possible.

You and your business can take action now to urgently unlock more food into the redistribution network for those who need it. Use IGD’s resources to help prioritise food surplus redistribution in your business. Share your feedback and examples of what works so that charities and communities can benefit, and together, we can continue to progress this critical issue. Please contact [email protected] to get in touch.

Find out more at igd.com.