Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for reducing food waste and plastic packaging - industry initiatives, innovating waste management and redistribution, and assessing latest policy tools

Morning, Tuesday, 22nd September 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will discuss the next steps for reducing food packaging and waste - including single use plastic - and strategies for encouraging positive consumer and supply chain behaviour.

Areas for discussion include:

  • policy priorities for reducing food packaging and waste
  • food surplus distribution schemes - their role and how they and supply chain partners have been impacted by COVID-19
  • reducing household and business waste - looking at priorities, with discussion expected on:
    • standardised and consistent collection policies
    • expansion of the opportunities to recycle
    • the impact of the pandemic on household behaviour, and the temporary closures of recycling plants and changes to waste collection procedures
  • reducing waste in agriculture - and mitigating the effect of changes in climate, and the pandemic, on agricultural waste
  • single use plastics in the food and drink industry - progress and next steps for its reduction, including:
    • the impact of industry initiatives
    • innovation in packaging
    • what more needs to be done across the retail and hospitality sectors

Why this is relevant now - the context:

  • The Environment Bill progressing through Parliament, which aims to establish a new set of policies and provisions for protecting the natural environment
  • The ongoing National Food Strategy and its review of the UK food system - with the recent publication of the interim report and its identification of key areas of focus, including around:
    • agricultural production
    • supply chains
    • relationships between businesses and consumers
  • The UK Plastics Pact initiating a collaborative approach across the sector to reduce plastic use across food, and for all plastic packaging to be 100% recyclable and reusable by 2025
  • Government plans to roll out a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for household items like plastic bottles, with potential scope for aluminium cans and glass bottles
  • Funding from the Government aimed at encouraging innovative solutions in areas such as behavioural change and repurposing food waste

The discussion in detail:

The policy landscape for food waste reduction in the UK, including:

  • The flagship Resources and Waste Strategy and the Government’s target of eliminating avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050, and latest progress on achieving key objectives, including:
    • the setting of legal powers for food waste targets
    • building up food redistribution systems
    • working more effectively with waste management groups to further reduce the waste being sent to landfill, and increase redistribution and repurposing where possible
    • improvements to labelling and consumer information, and the opportunities this can present for reducing waste and encouraging positive behaviour change
    • progress on developing effective and compulsory UK-wide waste separation systems, and steps for reducing livestock and feedstock wastage on agriculture land
  • The Environment Bill - examining its measures for improving resource and waste efficiency, such as:
    • the suggested ban on plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries, and assessing its potential effectiveness in reducing the carbon lifespan of plastic products
    • providing environmental enforcers with enhanced powers to tackle waste crime and violators
    • accelerating the implementation Extended Producer Responsibility, and its potential impact on ensuring products are recycled or disposed of sustainably

Food redistribution and collection systems, and developing waste efficiency across food and industry supply chains - including assessing resilience during the COVID-19 disruption:

  • the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis for waste collection, redistribution, and recycling, how the sector adapted, and what can be learned going forward, with discussion expect on:
    • the government funding for food redistribution organisations in England, and what it meant for operational resilience
    • work across the food and retail industry to prevent wastage and deliver food to the vulnerable
    • setting clear guidance for waste collection across local authorities and effectively continuing waste management services, including in waste separation where still possible
    • communicating developments to residents - following guidance on priorities during the pandemic  provided by the Government
  • ensuring that supply chains work effectively, and encourage behaviour change and resource efficiency, and the roles of stakeholders across the food system, looking at:
    • latest thinking on innovative solutions for tackling food waste - looking at developing new materials, repurposing waste created by supply chains, and communication with consumers
    • the impact of voluntary agreements such as the Courtauld Commitment 2025 on delivering change across businesses, improving resource efficiency, encouraging collaboration, and expanding food waste collection sites 

Tackling single use plastic packaging for food and delivering innovative and recyclable plastic materials, looking at:

  • developing strategies for reducing plastic packaging across food products, and accelerating the shift away from single use items and to sustainable and recyclable alternatives
  • policy options for accelerating the shift away from non-recyclable packaging for food and drink - such as:
    • the anticipated Plastic Packaging Tax aimed at products made with less than 30% recycled plastic
    • the ban on single use plastics, including straws and drink stirrers used across retail and hospitality
  • encouraging innovation in plastic materials and design, such as the £60m UKRI Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge for  development of a more sustainable plastic packaging value chain and the creation of recyclable products
  • best practice for implementing a Deposit Return Scheme, and latest thinking around policy, regulation, and scrutinised - including around producer accountability, the role of retailers and local authorities, and how the scheme will be costed and financed

The agenda:

  • Assessing the landscape for food waste in the UK and priorities for addressing system challenges
  • Supporting food redistribution during COVID-19 disruption and next steps for maintaining resilience - funding assistance, and working with supply chain partners
  • Food waste reduction measures across households and industry - improving local collection scope and management, reuse and recycling opportunities, and encouraging behaviour change
  • Opportunities for reducing waste in agriculture - delivering low-carbon land use policies, supporting sustainable farming practices, and repurposing agriculture waste
  • Routes to food packaging reduction across the UK food and drink industry
  • International case study: reducing the supply of single use plastic items
  • Next steps for innovating food and drink packaging and the shift away from single use items - developing new materials, improving recycling methods, and leveraging taxation options
  • Priorities for setting effective policy tools for plastic packaging reduction - EPR, increasing industry accountability, and best practice for implementing a deposit return scheme

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials together with packaging companies; public health professionals, representatives of the agriculture and food and drink industry, including associations, manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers; the agritech and crop science industries; partners, advisors and suppliers of the sectors involved; universities and research organisations; local and devolved government officials; charities and consumer groups; and academics and commentators  together with reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Senior speaker confirmed from WRAP

David Bellamy

Senior Environment Policy Manager, Food and Drink Federation

Héloïse Pestel

Agricultural Counsellor, Embassy of France in London

Jane Marren

Group Managing Director, Company Shop Group


Alex Vlassopulos

Co-Founder, Kitche

Charlotte Morton

Chief Executive, Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association

Dr Adam Read

External Affairs Director, Recycling and recovery UK, SUEZ

Andrew Stephen

Chief Executive Officer, The Sustainable Restaurant Association

Professor Carol Wagstaff

Head of School: Chemistry Food and Pharmacy, University of Reading and Co-Director, BBSRC Horticulture Quality and Food Loss Network

Ringaile Bulatović-Schumer

Director of Culture Development, Culture Excellence