Surplus food and drink retailer Approved Food is backing the inaugural Food Waste Action Week, organised by the national sustainability body WRAP.

The sustainable online supermarket is a strategic partner of the event, that runs from March 1-7 and highlights the fact that wasting food contributes to climate change. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases, behind China and the USA[1] – yet almost two thirds[2] of us don’t yet realise the part it plays in warming our climate.

The UK manufacturing sector wastes around 1.5 million tonnes of food every year, including food that has passed its best before date being binned when it is still perfectly good to eat, or due to packaging changes or overruns. Approved Food rescues some of this problem stock and makes it available to customers at a knock-down price.

To illustrate what 1.5 million tonnes of food looks like, the business laid out pallets of rescued food at its Barnsley distribution. The 60 pallets contained 20 tonnes of surplus food; if the line had continued to the full 1.5 million tonnes, it would have reached New York.

Yet what manufacturers waste pales into insignificance compared to food wasted in our own homes. Each year, UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten – 70% of all food wasted here. That’s the same weight as 355,000 double decker buses. With 30% of global man-made CO2 emissions associated with the production and consumption of food, cutting food waste is a good place to start when fighting climate change.

Approved Food has campaigned for many years to reduce food waste through a better understanding of food labels – specifically best before dates. Food can be perfectly good to eat for weeks, months or even years after the best before date has passed.

The business was founded 12 years ago and recently processed its one millionth order. MD Andy Needham estimates that over the years, it has prevented 25,000 tonnes of food and drink from going to waste.

The action week will encourage households to significantly reduce the food they waste, with a different theme each day, from food storage and portion planning to creative ways to use up food, and practical steps such as setting the fridge temperature correctly.

As a strategic partner of the event – backed by cook, TV presenter and author Nadiya Hussain – Approved Food is offering one lucky winner 12 months’ supply of rescued food and drink worth £720 (and significantly more at original RRP) and is offering spot prizes each day of the week, bringing the total giveaway to more than £1,000. Other prizes up for grabs include a fridge freezer, signed cookbooks and a year’s supply of milk. Go to the Approved Food website for details of how to enter: or the WRAP website.

Approved Food brand ambassador Jonathan Straight commented: “At Approved Food we are passionate about stopping food from going to waste. We rescue perfectly good surplus food every single day by stopping it going to landfill or other forms of disposal. We make this food available to our customers as well as donating some of it to helping the needy.

“One of our biggest motivators is the impact that wasting food has on our planet. We want to make a difference and so we are getting behind Food Waste Action Week to raise awareness of this issue. We are doing as much as we can, but it is easy for others to reduce their own food waste at home. This is something we really want to encourage.”

[1] Figures from DEFRA

[2] Figures from WRAP