The partners are undertaking site assessments at Nestlé factories to identify ways to reduce food waste at its source.
Noting that finished products are easier to redistribute, Nestlé said it is focusing on how part-processed products can be redistributed instead of being used for animal feed or anaerobic digestion.
The approach aims to get “significantly” more food redistributed for both charitable and commercial use: Nestlé and Companies Shop estimate it will be equivalent to about 2m additional meals per year.
The method has already been tested at a number of Nestlé factories, where it has proven to be an economically sustainable way to take operational food waste, the KitKat-to-Milo maker said.
“As a food manufacturer, we see food waste as a very important issue for business and society. To help us reduce and find good uses for our surplus food we’ve been working with our partners to find innovative ways to address these issues in our supply chain but also to help the wider industry. The joint expertise and insight of our longstanding partners in food surplus waste have been crucial in developing a viable and scalable approach,” Andy Griffiths, head of environmental sustainability at Nestlé UK and Ireland said.
“By increasing the amount of food going through charitable redistribution, collectively we can make a significant impact and help people in need as well as reduce the environmental challenges associated with food waste,” he added.
Nestlé also suggested that the approach will help reduce operational costs.
John Marren, Founder and Chairman of Company Shop added: “We commend Nestlé for their joined-up approach to preventing waste and we look forward to demonstrating the positive social, environmental and economic impact that can be achieved through this programme.”
Food redistribution is a significant issue for the food industry. Currently, around 30% of the food produced globally is wasted. Only 17% of edible surplus food is redistributed through charitable or commercial routes.
Research by WRAP, the food waste charity, found that over half of the food waste generated by the UK manufacturing and retail sectors is avoidable. According to the report, a combination of preventing food waste being generated and redistributing surplus for human and animal consumption could lead to a 42% reduction in avoidable food waste.
Nestlé has set itself the target of becoming a zero-waste business across its operations. By the end of 2015, all Nestlé’s factories in the UK and Ireland had been verified as achieving zero waste to landfill. This latest partnership is part of Nestlé’s overall strategy to reduce food waste and increase redistribution, the company said.