Defra consults on mandating food waste reporting

The Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a consultation on measures to improve food waste reporting by large businesses in England.

Published yesterday (13 June) as part of the governments National Food Strategy, the 12 week consultation sets out a string of measures to mandate businesses to report food waste, and also asks who should be in scope.

Defra is considering mandating businesses to report food waste levels (picture: Shutterstock)

It set out three options: Do nothing, enhance voluntary agreements or require food waste measurement and reporting for large businesses.

Defra has proposed that large businesses (over 250 employees) be mandated to report food waste, as is currently done through WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

This would see businesses have to report the waste as a percentage of produced/purchased and also the final destination of it, in a format outlined below.

Companies would also have to report on the final destination of food waste

Defra is also seeking options of how long it would take to gather the information, and how often it should be reported.


A criterion Defra has considered for determining which food businesses would be required to measure and report is one based on the weight of food waste produced.

However, Defra says this would not be  viable for the regulations envisaged by this consultation as many food businesses do not currently measure their food waste and we could not therefore accurately ascertain which businesses should or should not be reporting.

The following businesses will be in scope

  • Food packing business
  • Food manufacturers
  • Food wholesalers
  • Food retailers
  • Caterers
  • Hospitality and food service (restaurants, pubs, quick service restaurants, takeaways)
  • Internet-based organisations that manage, distribute or produce food (for example, an internet-based organisation who manages food in a warehouse or arranges the distribution of food)
  • Commercial food redistribution organisations

However, companies such as Deliveroo which handle the delivery side of food, rather than having their own operations, “would be best approached through voluntary measures”.

The £295 million of capital funding will allow local authorities to implement food waste collections


The food strategy as a whole mentioned little about waste, but did feature one sub-heading on the topic.

Here, the government said the UK is an “international leader on tackling food waste”, and underlined its commitment to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal to halve global food waste by 2030.

On food waste, the government added: “To help consumers, we are continuing to work with WRAP to help households waste less food. On top of this, the Environment Act introduces a requirement for all local authorities in England to arrange for the separate collection of food waste for recycling or composting. Our net zero strategy announced £295 million of capital funding which will allow local authorities in England to prepare to implement free weekly separate food waste collections for all households from 2025.”

Useful link

Consultation on improved reporting of food waste by large food businesses in England


Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.