Food Innovation Centre highlights the issue of food waste

Wednesday, 09 June 2021

One third of all food produced globally ends up as waste, which equates to millions of tonnes of food wasted around the world every year.

The Food Innovation Centre, based at the University of Nottingham, has turned the spotlight on the issue in the latest in a series of factsheets.

Designed to help SMEs in the food and drink sector cut their waste, the Food Waste Management and Valorisation factsheet features useful information on the benefits of reducing waste, including how to calculate the cost of waste, supply chain risks, how it can affect customer satisfaction, the environmental issues, and the legal and policy case.

It lists five key areas for businesses to target and five key actions to tackle food waste.

Richard Worrall, who runs the Driving Research and Innovation project at the Food Innovation Centre, said: “The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that food waste causes a global economic, environmental and social cost of $2.6 trillion a year and is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“In the UK, WRAP estimates that annual food waste from UK households, hospitality and food services, food manufacturers, retail and wholesale sectors totals around 9.5 million tonnes and has a value of over £19 billion a year. It’s associated with more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases emissions.

“Food waste is a huge issue and it’s something that the Food Innovation Centre is keen to help reduce. We’ve worked on a number of projects with SMEs to help them cut their waste or to make new products from by-products that would otherwise have gone to waste.”

One SME that has taken advantage of the free support offered to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire food and drink businesses by the Food Innovation Centre is Nottingham-based SPG Innovation, which specialises in the commercialisation of Intellectual Property in food, life sciences and agritech.

Innovation manager at SPG Innovation, Rebecca McDowell, said: “It’s great to have a resource like the Food Innovation Centre available to help us and other SME’s with key issues such as waste reduction.”

The Food Innovation Centre, based at the Bioenergy and Brewing Science building at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus, offers free support to eligible small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire under the Driving Research and Innovation project - a three-year project that runs until the end of December 2022. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the D2N2 LEP, the project is run by the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, in conjunction with the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory in the School of Chemistry and Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and in association with the Midlands Engine. It is a unique collaboration project that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized businesses.

It has provided free support to almost 200 small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire so far, with new product development, processing, packaging and a whole lot more.

For more information about the Food Innovation Centre, to access the Food Waste Management and Valorisation factsheet, or to get in touch with experts who can help with the issue, visit

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More information is available from Richard Worrall, University of Nottingham on

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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