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Monday, 10 July 2017

Leftover Pie news and the APSRG on Food Waste

Blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground from me lately, with the work involved in publishing Leftover Pie, so I thought I ought to get back into the swing of things, while I have a short breathing space between publishing the ebook, and the next step which is to get the paperback ready for launch on 8th September.

Last week I went to the All Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group's meeting,  Food waste: next steps for the new government.

I really don't think that I had appreciated how important an issue food waste is until I started researching Leftover Pie, so knowing this discussion was going on in parliament, I really felt I needed to find out what is being talked about at the parliamentary level.

By the way, this was my first visit to the Houses of Parliament and I managed to get told off for taking a photograph where I shouldn't! Oops. I then kept my camera firmly tucked away, which was a shame, as I missed a photo opportunity with Dean Pearce, one of my wonderful recipe contributors, who I had the great pleasure of meeting in person for the first time.  What a day of firsts! First visit to parliament, first telling off in parliament,  and first plastic free July failure in a cafe putting the world to rights with Dean. Anyway, back to the meeting...

There are great things going on all around us to help reduce the food waste mountain, examples of which I highlight in my book.  Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, who chaired the meeting, described this as '1000 flowers blooming',  but I can't help thinking that we are lacking some big legislative support for those 1000 flowers.

Image: WRAP

The food waste hierarchy, which it seems surprisingly few people even know exists,  is a legal thing, but it seems it isn't 'policed' very well, if at all. Councils and businesses are supposedly obliged to take the food waste hierarchy into consideration, but that doesn't always happen.  Not all councils have separate food waste collections.  I, personally,  think this causes huge confusion and also an excuse for people to ignore food waste collections when they do have them.  As I explain in my book, this causes huge financial issues, when people who are offered food waste collections don't make use of them.  We need to solve this problem.  It is something that I am plugging away at as much as I can when I do Love Food Hate Waste events and talks, explaining the importance of separate food waste and explaining the cost implications of not separating waste, but I can't help feeling that the message would get out there quicker and more efficiently if there was legislation that enforced this.   There would still be those that wouldn't bother -but at least if there was a clear message that legally we should be separating our food waste, more people, likely would do so.

It was good to hear from Mark Glover, CEO of WRAP, that they are working on a "set menu" of options for separate food waste collections for local council and they hope that all councils will then choose from this set menu.  But there are councils who have already tried food waste collections before and not had sufficient uptake to cover the costs, which would be covered by the savings if most people then used the service.  So ... we are back to the issue of legislation again.

Tim Smith, of Tesco, talked about the efforts they are making to reduce food waste and Tesco was praised by the APSRG for publishing their food waste figures, and it is hoped, of course, that other supermarkets will follow Tesco's lead and publish their own food waste statistics.  It was commented that recently the amount of food waste appeared to have risen, but Tim Smith explained that at the outset, they weren't very good at measuring their waste, and that in reality it is improvements in how they measure waste that lie behind the apparent increase rather than an actual increase in waste.

I was, however, very surprised to find that other supermarkets haven't yet started to publish their own figures.  Surely they will?

One of my concerns about all the recent wonderful awareness raising that has been going on and the mainstream media coverage of food waste as a problem, is that people often think that it is mainly the fault of the big supermarkets that there is so much waste.  In fact, we know that over half of all food waste in the UK is actually wasted in the home.

It is this home food waste that I concentrate on in Leftover Pie, looking it why and how it arises and giving practical solutions to help people reduce food waste at home.  With 101 recipes - some mine and some from my wonderful army of chefs, food writers, food waste campaigners and lifestyle bloggers, as well as some general practical tips, there is something for everyone.  From those who are struggling big time, with a regular mountain of rotting veg at the bottom of their fridge right through to chefs who are already running a resource efficient kitchen, there's a recipe for you.

Leftover Pie is available now as an ebook and from 8th September in Paperback.  I hope you enjoy reading it and reviews are greatly appreciated.

For more news of Leftover Pie and talks and events go to the Leftover Pie Facebook page.