Setting a target and reporting

Date : 13 July 2021

This explains the benefits of setting an ambitious food surplus redistribution target and how to report on progress 

All food businesses have a legal responsibility to adopt the food and drink material hierarchy. The hierarchy was developed to help businesses prioritise the management of surplus and waste in their operations.


According to the hierarchy, the first priority is to reduce the amount of surplus in a manufacturing operation.

For any remaining food surplus, the priority is to redistribute it to feed people and prevent it from becoming waste or being used for animal feed.

Redistribution covers a range of channels including commercial outlets, charities and community groups.

Why set a food surplus redistribution target?

  • It allows you to demonstrate how important food surplus redistribution is to your business
  • It helps you take targeted action to increase redistribution in your own operations, your supply chain and with your retail customers (if you’re a supplier/manufacturer)
  • It helps you to deliver against the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, contribute to Courtauld Commitment targets; and play your part in delivering the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.
  • Demonstrating progress against food redistribution targets can have a positive impact on brand reputation

Food redistribution reporting

Based on work undertaken by the Courtauld Commitment Working Group, WRAP recommend that businesses reporting on food surplus redistribution adopt the following advice:

  • Report as a weight (kilogrammes or tonnes depending on the quantities being referred to), either alone or in combination with the equivalent number of meals
  • If reporting as the equivalent number of meals, use a conversion factor of 420g for an ‘average’ meal size
  • Be clear that the number of meals quoted does not imply that this many balanced meals could be made from the food surplus, but illustrates what the amount of food surplus might equate to
  • Use ‘equivalent to x million meals’ or ‘the equivalent of x million meals’ to reinforce the above point
  • Where space allows make reference to the following guidance note

How does redistribution fit into other frameworks?

Over 250 businesses are now signed up to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The Roadmap is based upon an agreed framework for how to reduce food waste called Target, Measure, Act. Food surplus redistribution can form part of a comprehensive food waste reduction strategy but should not be a stand-alone solution.

For further details on the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap please click here

This information is supplied in partnership with WRAP