Eggs

Background

Reducing food waste by half by 2030

3 years ago, UK resource efficiency organisation WRAP reached an agreement with a number of key poultry and pig companies to encourage them to reduce their food waste by 50% by 2030.

WRAP, which has been a driving force in reducing the amount of food waste through the ground-breaking Courtauld Commitment in 2005 and the Love Food Hate Waste campaign from 2007, made a deal with the 2 Sisters Food Group, Avara Foods, Moy Park Ltd and Noble Foods that would enable them to sign up to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. Since then, the firms have made considerable strides towards reaching the ambitious targets. Noble Foods, which each week individually grades, packs and delivers over 60 million British Lion eggs for its customers, said business over the last few months had been tough.

WRAP, which has been a driving force in reducing the amount of food waste, made a deal with poultry companies to enable them to sign up to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. Photo: ANP
WRAP, which has been a driving force in reducing the amount of food waste, made a deal with poultry companies to enable them to sign up to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. Photo: ANP

“Like every other food producer, the last few months have seen our business face a significant number of challenges that have never been encountered before. In order to maintain our supply whilst also ensuring a safe working environment for our colleagues, we had to move at pace. The decisions we took added a significant amount of complexity into our supply chain but avoiding food waste during this period remained a key target for us.”

WRAP has been a driving force in reducing the amount of food waste through the ground-breaking Courtauld Commitment in 2005 and the Love Food Haste Waste campaign from 2007.

Challenging consumer habits during lockdown

As a result of challenging consumer habits during lockdown, Noble Foods saw a huge spike in retail demand for eggs while food service volumes dropped substantially. This left the firm with a significant risk as the eggs used for food service customers are from white hens laying white eggs. With UK consumers not used to buying white eggs from supermarkets since the 1970s, the company was faced with having to find a market for 900,000 eggs a week during the Covid-19 lockdown. The answer was Tesco, one of the UK’s largest retailers.

“Due to the close working relationship we have with Tesco, we are were able to approach them about the white egg volume we had available and very quickly moved through the technical and agriculture processes to ensure that the rigorous sign off conditions could be met. This meant we were able to get these eggs into a Tesco box and onto shelves at a point in time when demand was soaring and getting stock onto the shelves was critical.” Turning to last year, the company handled 114,068 tonnes of food compared to 113,876 tonnes in 2018. Despite the increase in total food handled, food waste dropped from 0.4% (493 tonnes) in 2018 to 0.3% (386 tonnes) last year, resulting in a 38% fall from the 2017 baseline year. The majority of the firm’s food waste (91%) is used for anaerobic digestion with the remaining 9% used for energy generation. Noble Foods also sends 845 tonnes of unfit liquid egg and shell abroad to be converted into pet food.

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Maximising yield

Avara’s policy is to send all by-products to the next best destination outside the human food chain. Last year it sent 130,936 tonnes of animal by-product for processing to the pet food and other products sectors, representing an increase of 35,000 tonnes on 2018 figures. Avara also sent 57,980 tonnes into fuel, agricultural products or anaerobic digestion to produce energy. The company continues to support the food poverty charity FareShare and has increased its weekly supply to almost 3 tonnes of fresh chicken per week. Between June 2019 and May 2020, it provided 103 tonnes, supplying 200 charities and community groups, including schools, food banks and homeless shelters.