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Food Waste

Volume 599: debated on Thursday 10 September 2015

I pay tribute to the hon. Lady for her extraordinary work on this matter, and for her private Member’s Bill, which she introduced yesterday. As she is aware, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, through Courtauld 2025, is taking considerable steps towards the achievement of that target.

I thank the Minister for the interest he has so far shown in my ten-minute rule Bill. Under previous Courtauld commitments—the first three phases—80% of the reduction in food waste has come from households. There is still the real problem that more than half of food waste is in the supply chain. Does the Minister agree that we should leave it not to the voluntary action of food companies, but place a legal requirement on them to help us meet the target of halving food waste?

I am happy to sit down with the hon. Lady and look closely at the details of the Bill. Certain retailers, such as Tesco, are beginning to make huge progress, as she knows. Recently, there have been studies on, for example, bananas in the supply chain, and an app has been launched with FareShare to enable charities to get food from supermarkets. That is a good example of progress, but I am happy to learn more.

I am encouraged to hear that more than 90% of the food retail and manufacturing market have already signed up to the code voluntarily. Does the Minister agree that that is the best way to get the whole industry on board?

I agree strongly with my hon. Friend. Courtauld has been very impressive. This has been a cross-party activity, led by the extraordinary achievement of the Labour Government in bringing in the landfill tax. With 90% of retailers signed up, the significant reduction in food waste is genuinely impressive.