From Waste to Taste

Justin Wright, Lovewell Blake LLP

I will apologise in advance for any pork based puns. As the Pig Idea campaign gains momentum (an initiative to raise the ban on feeding food waste to pigs), it’s got me thinking a little bit more about how much waste actually costs.

There is evidence that up to 30% of all our food is wasted, whether by us as consumers, during transport, storage or processing. Hardly surprising some might say given the length and complexity of food chains and as consumers become more affluent, this only makes the problem worse.

We, as consumers, have to pay for this. It would be ham-fisted (sorry) to suggest that we are overpaying on our weekly shop by 30% to compensate for this excess, but pay for it we do. On top of this, those businesses in every area of the supply chain need to pay for the waste to be removed, incur additional regulatory and legal obligations and pay for the extra labour.

As the Pig Idea suggests, the waste from supermarkets, restaurants etc could be used to reduce feed costs, reduce air miles, produce energy and could even generate jobs. It seems to make sense to me - if we can’t effectively reduce our physical waste perhaps we should put it to good use. And what’s good for Pork seems to resonate throughout the sector.

Large scale nationals struggle with the challenges of managing waste but regional producers can use this to their benefit. As our region is blessed with many small local producers, the same levels of waste can be avoided as the final product doesn't pass through many hands.

Local producers also have the significant benefit of knowing who their suppliers are, who they are doing business with and how the food is being produced. This leads to greater information sharing, a closer food community and an atmosphere where good food becomes a “norm”.

Local producers do not have the buying power of the supermarkets, so the cost of production may be higher for our Norfolk and Suffolk businesses. But this potential 30% saving highlights why regional businesses can continue to thrive whilst delivering quality.

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is provided for information only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, information contained herein may not be comprehensive and you should not act upon it without seeking professional advice.



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