Whichever political party gains power at the General Election it's hoped that they will put the fight to cut food waste high on the priority list. As the UK becomes increasingly dependent on imported food and the reliance on Food Banks remains high, cutting food waste is a solution against which it's hard to argue.

The current administration has adopted a ‘hands-off’ approach to food waste believing it's a problem that the market can fix largely caused by overly wasteful households. This belief can be partly explained with a cursory look at the headline food waste figures collated by WRAP.

Of the 15 million tonnes of food thrown away every year half is generated in homes. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) this compares with just 1.3% from the grocery retail sector.

These figures miss two crucial points. The first is that households are at the end of a highly complex chain which can encourage the creation of waste. The second is the neat cherry-picking of data by the BRC which deflects blame from the sector they represent.

The need for a wide range of disparate organisations to work together means that cutting food waste will require some government intervention. This shouldn't stifle innovation or creativity but should ensure that laggards across all sectors operate to a minimum standard making it easier for all concerned to reduce food waste.

Hubbub UK has created a food waste manifesto setting out the steps we think need to be taken to drive change.

1) Make sure independent data is openly available

Tesco independently took the brave step to have the food waste it creates independently measured and then publicised results. This openness initially attracted a few negative media stories but the longer-term benefits have been significant. Most notably social enterprises can now offer the company solutions in areas which will make a real impact and Tesco is able to focus efforts on food waste hotspots.

Hopefully other retailers will voluntarily follow the Tesco lead but if this doesn’t happen government should intervene forcing them to act. Eventually this requirement should be extended to food manufacturers.

2) Help build stronger links between retailers and charities

There are an increasing number of excellent partnerships between retailers and charities which redistribute food that would be wasted to those most in need. Unfortunately these initiatives are still patchy with a lack of national coverage. Government could address this by putting aside competition laws to enable retailers and charities to get together to create a more coherent system.

3) Provide food waste collection across the UK

A similar lack of consistency can be seen in the provision of food waste collection systems provided by local authorities with England lagging behind Scotland and Wales. We can see no reason why government shouldn’t stipulate that all households should have easy access to local food waste collection systems by 2020.

4) Invest in Love Food Hate Waste

One of the reasons that food waste has started to drop in the UK is through the efforts of WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This has provided a place where collaboration can occur between key players, where data can be accurately collected and which provides a constant and strong message to the public. Over the years, government has been steadily reducing financial support for WRAP diminishing potential effectiveness. We think this is short-sighted and that the policy should be reversed enabling WRAP to better deliver this crucial co-ordination role.

In collaboration with Unilever and many voices from the food, waste and public sector, we're creating a manifesto outlining what central and local government could do better to cut domestic food waste. Our ambition is to bring the manifesto for debate at the upcoming Party conferences this autumn.

We have proposed four points. We welcome your thoughts on these via our online survey. The manifesto will gradually be refined until it reaches a point where it has teeth and a wide range of support. 

Hubbub is gradually building a growing movement of people who wish to see the end to food waste and this movement will help us raise this manifesto up the political agenda. If you would like to collaborate or support us, we'd love to hear from you - get in touch.