The UK government has appointed Ben Elliot as its first food surplus and waste champion, as it aims to curb the amount of food that is wasted in the country.
An estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK annually, and Elliot’s primary responsibility will be to devise a strategy which drastically reduces unnecessary food waste “from all sources.”
A statement released by the government said that Elliot will work with businesses and other stakeholders from across retail, food manufacturing, hospitality and food services to tackle this issue.
The creation of the role was a key commitment made in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy launched in December 2018, which outlined the government’s ambition to eliminate food waste being sent to landfill sites by 2030.
Ben Elliot said: “Whilst families all over the country struggle to put food on the table and children still go to school each day with empty stomachs, there continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable.
“As a nation, we need to stop this excessive waste and ensure that surplus food finds its way to people in our society who need it most, and not let it get thrown away and go to landfill.
“The progress that we have made at the Felix Project has had a positive impact on thousands of people’s lives in London and I am extremely grateful to all of those involved in the food sector that have been so supportive.
“My new appointment will allow me to work with DEFRA and food retailers all over the country to help build out a nationwide strategy that will ensure surplus food is not wasted at the expense of those in our society that truly need it.”
In October last year, UK environment secretary Michael Gove announced that the government would commit £15 million in funding to help surplus food reach charities, and Gove claims that Elliot’s appointment will bolster the government’s efforts to tackle the food waste issue.
Gove added: “Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal. We must end it.
“That’s why I am delighted Ben Elliot is taking up this position and know he will bring the enthusiasm and skills this important role needs.
“His first task will be to help ensure our £15m million food waste fund redistributes surplus food that would otherwise be wasted to those most in need.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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