Retailers across the UK are being encouraged to adopt a new approach to help tackle the wasted food problem within the sector.
Company Shop, an organisation which redistributes surplus stock from the food industry, believes that feeding animals the produce that has been deemed inedible for human consumption could help slash the amount of waste that is produced in the meat supply chain. The company said that it has already completed a successful trial of rearing a cow on foods such as pasta, fruit and veg, cereal and confectionery products that were at end of their use-by date. It is currently planning on testing a second cow which is expected to be ready in nine to ten months' time.
The organisation explained that since the beginning of the trial in May 2012 it has that produced fresh meat from the animal and it has been donated to charitable group in South Yorkshire such as FareShare, the Barnsley Churches Drop In and the Salvation Army. The initiative has been highlighted as one of the ways in which the UK can deal with the problem of food poverty with many people having to rely on food banks to get a decent meal. However, charities have often bemoaned the fact that they are unable to afford the provision of fresh meat on a regular basis.
John Marren, chairman of the organisation, said: "The Company Shop meat initiative provides a solution to food waste, creates a plentiful supply of animal feed and, most importantly, results in wholesome meals for vulnerable people."
According to figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the average amount of residual a single person in England generates is 263kg a year in 2010/11. However, this was down by 88kg since 2006/07. The organisation noted that in 2009 alone there was approximately 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink wasted, seven million tonnes of which was noted to be produce.
The Company Shop's initiative could help wasted food get to those that need it the most.