Photo: WRAP

Environment Secretary Michael Gove Monday (May 13) invited organisations to apply for the second round of more than £6 million funding to redistribute surplus food under government’s scheme to cut food waste.

The fund will help charities and other organisations to invest in better infrastructure to handle and distribute leftover food.

Gove made the announcement at the ‘Step up to the Plate’ gathering hosted by government’s Food Waste Champion Ben Elliot at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

More than 300 major players from the food industry, including Nestlé, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose, signed a pledge to take tough action on food waste at the event.

Gove revealed that redistribution of surplus food in the UK has almost doubled in the last three years, with enough food saved to produce the equivalent of 133 million meals a year.

The value of the food redistributed in 2018 was £166 million, with the increase (2015 to 2018) worth £81 million.

Currently around 55,000 tonnes of surplus food is redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers every year. It is estimated a further 100,000 tonnes of food – equating to 250 million meals a year – is edible and readily available but goes uneaten.

Gove has announced last year a £15 million scheme to specifically address surplus food from retail and manufacturing.

Starting today, redistribution organisations in England can bid into a £6 million pot from this fund to help them overcome the financial barrier to redistributing surplus food.