ROME, March 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For every
dollar spent on reducing food waste, companies save an average
$14, according to a study published on Tuesday that also showed
consumers can save money by shrinking their bin bags.
The study analysed 700 restaurants, food manufacturers,
retailers and hospitality companies in 17 countries and found 99
percent of them made money from investing in curbing waste.
"There are still too many inside business and government who
are unaware or unsure about the kind of impact they can have by
reducing food loss and waste," Dave Lewis, chief executive of
Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, said in a call with
Throwing out food wastes the water, energy and fuel needed
to grow, store and transport it, campaigners say, while
discarded food ends up in landfills where it rots, releasing
harmful greenhouse gases.
Companies analysed in the study reduced food waste through
measures like improving refrigeration and switching to more
efficient packaging to extend products' shelf-life.
In return they gained additional income from selling
products made with food saved from the bin, benefited from lower
waste management costs and saved money not buying food that
would have otherwise been lost.
The study showed how a British-based food manufacturer
achieved a more than 300-fold return on investment by running an
audit that revealed seven percent of the food it bought remained
in bulk containers after they were emptied.
"The clear business case should swing people to act," Lewis,
who also chairs Champions 12.3, the campaign group that
commissioned the first-of-its kind study, added in a statement.
With the average U.S. family of four spending roughly $1,500
a year on food that is thrown away, cutting waste is also a boon
for consumers' pockets, the study said.
Between 2007 and 2012 Britain cut household food waste by 21
percent due to an awareness raising campaign that stimulated the
use of resealable salad bags and zip-lock cheese packs, the
The campaign resulted in savings for consumers and local
authorities, which benefited from lower waste disposal costs of
6.6 billion pounds ($8 billion), against costs of 26 million
pounds, the research said.
About a third of food produced around the world is never
eaten because it is spoiled after harvest and during
transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.
($1 = 0.8157 pounds)
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Astrid
Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)