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Meat industry and trade -- Great Britain, Food waste, Packaging waste, Animal industry -- Great Britain, Sustainable agriculture


Consumers spend more money on meat than any other food item. WRAP has already shown that households are wasting around 570,000 tonnes of fresh meat each year, of which 260,000 (46%) is avoidable with a value of about £1,300M. These wasted products also include embedded water and embedded carbon. This research has focused on the supply of meat from the farm gate onwards, including livestock slaughtering, meat preparation, processing and packaging, distribution and retail. It focuses on fresh meat from the four animal species which comprise some 96% by weight of all animals slaughtered for human consumption, namely chickens, cattle, pigs and sheep as well as burgers, bacon, sausages and cooked hams, which are then sold through the retail supply chain.

The project’s aim was to develop detailed ‘resource maps’ that show how each animal is utilised, in order to generate data on product waste, packaging waste, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

This research has highlighted the extent to which meat products are wasted or lost in the UK’s food supply chain. By identifying how, where and why the products are wasted, these resource maps have enabled the identification of where better management practices, in particular, can be used to develop more resource efficient strategies within the fresh meat sector. Based on the recommendations outlined in this report, the project team estimates that substantial financial savings can be realised throughout the meat supply chain, particularly through improved harvesting of residual material and increased participation in the renewals energy market.


A product of WRAP, Waste & Resources Action Programme. May be accessed at Project code: RSC009

Note: At the time of writing, Carlos Mena was affiliated with Cranfield University.

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