Produce World wins Waitrose award for food waste initiative with Gleaning UK

Produce World Group, Waitrose Way award. Left to right: Guy Thallon, Frank Robinson and Ed Rees.

Produce World Group, Waitrose Way award. Left to right: Guy Thallon, Frank Robinson and Ed Rees.

copyright jeff hopkins

A food waste reduction initiative run by a major Fenland vegetable grower has received industry recognition from one of the supermarkets which it supplies.

Volunteers from Gleaning UK Volunteers from Gleaning UK

Produce World won the “treading lightly – food waste reduction” category at the Waitrose Way Awards, which celebrated the grower’s work with Gleaning UK, part of environmental campaign organisation Feedback, and food charity FareShare.

The Gleaning network aims to reduce waste in the food chain by revitalising the practice of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after harvest

The Produce World Group, which is based in Peterborough with sites across Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, organised a series of events including:

• Two days at its brassicas trial fields, where a variety of vegetables were on offer for gleaning including orange cauliflower and flower sprouts.

• A day gleaning cauliflowers from commercial fields in Boston.

• A festive gleaning day spent at Taylorgrown on the Houghton Estate, harvesting Brussels sprouts ready for Christmas.

The company said these gleaning days resulted in 117,000 portions of vegetables being distributed and eaten rather than disposed of. Additional weekly donations of vegetables to FareShare have resulted in a contribution of more than 500,000 meals.

Guy Thallon, Produce World’s head of research, development and innovation, said: “There are more than five million people in the UK living in food poverty. Inevitably there is waste in the fresh produce supply chain, so if we are able to redirect some of that waste to organisations that have strong established distribution networks, we can make a contribution to solving that problem.

“We are delighted that this work has been recognised and we intend to continue to develop our initiatives with Gleaning UK and FareShare, as well as sharing our experience across the industry and the supply chain.”

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