By Daniel Hunter

Grocery retailers have signed up to challenging new targets for cutting food waste in the supply chain and at home, building on the excellent progress already made in these areas.

Under the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment, launched today (Thursday) by the resource efficiency body WRAP, all the major grocery retailers have agreed to work towards three new environmental goals, including a commitment to reduce household food waste by five per cent by 2015 (from a 2012 baseline).

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed the new agreement as a clear demonstration of retailers' commitment to reducing food waste further, both from farm gate to shelf and in the home.

The new agreement follows on from significant success in meeting the first and second phase Courtauld targets since it launched in 2005. In phase one, 670,000 tonnes of food waste were avoided between 2005 and 2009 and annual UK household food waste fell by 1.1m tonnes between 2006/7 and 2010. To date Courtauld 2 has delivered a 3 per cent reduction in household food waste.

Measures introduced by retailers to help curb food waste in the home include offering a range of product portion sizes, to fit different customer needs, providing advice on how to store food and recipes for using up leftovers. Retailers are also active participants in the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste' campaign run by WRAP.

Phase three also covers ambitious targets for further reducing waste in the grocery supply chain and improving packaging design to minimise its carbon impact.

British Retail Consortium Food and Sustainability Director, Andrew Opie, said: "These new targets build on the major strides already made by grocery retailers to reduce food and packaging waste. Despite the downturn and other challenges affecting business, the retail industry is continuing to innovate and collaborate on waste reduction as well as working hard to meet wider green goals across all aspects of its operations. That's delivering real environmental benefits as well as value for customers."

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