Research and publications listings

Half-price food: just one of the ways companies are making money from food waste

Four hands clinking glasses over many plates of food

Half-price food: just one of the ways companies are making money from food waste

Governments globally have set ambitious targets to tackle food waste, and technology is connecting businesses and customers, so surplus food doesn't end up as landfill. All this activity is opening up opportunities for the Scottish food industry and retail sector to fight food waste and increase revenue.

In Scotland, 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted every year. To this end, the Scottish Government, has pledged to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025, increasing this to 50% by 2030.

The food waste fight is definitely gaining ground in the UK. Great campaigns have helped raise awareness. And great digital apps have made it to market, making it easier to share information about surplus food.

Ninety businesses, including some of the UK’s largest retailers, food producers, manufacturers, hospitality and food service companies, have committed to halving food waste by 2030. So, with ambitious food waste targets being set, and technology being used to incentivise the customer, there's nothing but potential for business growth in this area.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap

Institute Grocery Distribution (IGD) and Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) recently announced a Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The Roadmap is supported by the UK’s largest food trade bodies, businesses across the supply chain, Defra, and the Welsh and Scottish governments.

According to WRAP, one third of all food produced in the world is lost between farm and fork. And global economic losses to food waste costs 940 billion USD each year.  

The aim of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is to see 50% of the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measure, report and act on food waste by September 2019. And the full 250 doing so by 2026.

Food waste apps lead the way

The FoodCloud app helps supermarkets spread their surplus food to partner charities, like breakfast clubs and homeless shelters. While OLIO connects neighbours with each other, as well as with local food shops, to share food that would otherwise go to waste.

Too Good To Go and Karma are platforms that allow food retailers to sell their surplus food to customers, turning surplus food into revenue. Karma, launched in 2016, and now has over 1,000 food businesses, 350 restaurants and over 250,000 users. The app allows consumers to buy food and pick it up like a takeaway, usually at half the normal cost. The Karma team are expanding, and are currently in talks with UK grocery shops and big chain supermarkets.

In the Netherlands, NoFoodWasted partners with supermarkets to give customers the heads-up when food is near its sell-by-date, and is about to be discounted. While Unilever's Wise Up On Waste online tool allows commercial kitchens to calculate and measure food waste effectively.

Innovation support for Scottish food and drink companies

If you're interested in finding out about the food waste sector get in touch. We can help you identify the markets to tackle and support your innovation journey.

Make Innovation Happen is a single source of innovation support for businesses involved in the Scottish food and drink supply chain.

Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise work in partnership across academia, the public sector and the industry to deliver a comprehensive innovation support service.

Make Innovation Happen can help your business by providing:

  • Access to 'connectors', who can offer support, advice and mentoring, as well as direction to appropriate support
  • Ideas and insights on how to innovate through articles and events
  • Funding through the Collaborative Innovation Fund
  • Help to access other innovation services provided by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Interface and others

Looking for innovation support?

Our Make Innovation Happen service can help you improve employee, product and process productivity.