Speaking at yesterday’s Foodservice Packaging Association Environment Seminar, shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh told delegates she was putting the industry “on warning” that, if elected, she would look to eradicate food waste entirely. “We need to start treating food as the precious commodity that it is,” she said.
Creagh also encouraged the packaging industry to work harder to promote the role it plays in reducing food waste. “There’s a real job to be getting the message out about how packaging does good, both in the supermarkets and in homes,” she said.
Her comments came on the day that food waste hit national headlines after a report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers that claimed up to half the food produced in the world is wasted.
Creagh told the FPA event that, under a Labour government, a food consumption ‘hierarchy’ would be established, starting with people, then going to animal feed, and finally to anaerobic digestion.
She also revealed that, as part of an policy review being led by fellow Labour front-bencher Gavin Shuker, the party is considering the creation of a cross-departmental ‘Office for Resource Security’. Results of the review are due to be published in February.
The idea is likely to be welcomed by packaging industry lobbyists who have long complained of the challenge posed by having to deal with such a wide range of government departments, who often have competing interests.
FPA Chairman Neil Whittall said: “It is increasingly recognized that packaging plays a significant role in fuelling growth in the food and retail sectors.”
Other speakers at the event included Bob Lisney of the Advisory Committee on Packaging, Paul Vanston of the Kent Waste Partnership, Thomas Jelley of Sodexo and Conservative MP Mark Pawsey. A panel discussion was chaired by Packaging News brand director Josh Brooks.
For more on the seminar, see the next issue of Packaging News