Just the beginning….

Dick Searle2smallIt is good to be able to play out the year on a high note.

After a sustained and ongoing campaign this year we are pleased to report that the Co-operative food store, with support from the Welsh Government, has launched a two month Fresher for Longer (FFL) pilot campaign at its store in Porthcawl, Wales.

Not only does this move acknowledge the work and learnings of the Fresher For Longer programme, it is also the first public affirmation of the (WRAP) Waste & Resources Action Programme’s commitment to make FFL an integral part of its popular Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

Last week we saw over 500 Co-op Porthcawl shoppers receive our FFL waste-saving hints and tips. The shoppers also pledged to make changes to the way they use and store food; practices that could save them up to £700 a year per family.

This re-booting of our FFL campaign in Wales is timely, welcome and significant. For one thing, it means that FFL will remain a key future part of WRAP’s plans. For another thing, this two-month pilot will provide considerable consumer data, which can then be used in helping spread good FFL practice throughout further regions and other retailers.

Love Food Hate Waste is also now undertaking additional research into consumer awareness and attitudes to food waste and food packaging. These findings are expected to be revealed in late Spring 2015.

I said at the time of the FFL launch that the UK’s current performance relating to food waste was nothing less than a ‘scandal’. It still is. Our society manages to throw away a staggering £12.5 billion every year in food waste. More than half of this total could have been eaten. Packaging and storage are key allies in stopping this rot – and Fresher For Longer is the key campaign through which this can be achieved.

I don’t want to jinx the undoubted progress of the last eighteen months at all. However – in football manager parlance – I do feel ‘quietly confident’ that the terms of the so-called packaging debate have now changed. The ground has shifted, and rightly so.

We are now most concerned with issues of global resource conversation and with food security. Packaging has a vital role to play. Societies are realising that, handled correctly, packaging is a tremendous environmental benefit, and not the opposite. I thank you – our readers – for the role that you may have played in this turnaround.

Our revived Fresher For Longer initiative is but one part of this new beginning.

Thanks again

Dick Searle