Michael Gove has appointed Ben Elliot, philanthropist and co-founder of Quintessentially, to help the government tackle the 250 million meals being thrown away in the UK each year.
Working on a voluntary basis under the title of ‘food waste champion’, Mr. Elliot will encourage families to play a larger role by forming the face of new requirements, such as a separate food caddy in every household.
Retailers and food manufacturers across the country are to be signed up to help millions of tonnes of edible food from being sent to landfills and instead forwarded to food banks and homeless shelters.
The Government has set aside £15 million for the project, and Mr Elliot, who is also the nephew of The Duchess of Cornwall, is to report the Government on what progress has been made and from which companies.
Mr Gove, the current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has warned that companies could face mandatory targets if they fail to reduce the amount of waste food.
Making the announcement on New Year’s Eve, Mr Gove said: “Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal. We must end it.”
Discussing Mr Elliot’s appointment, he said: “That’s why I am delighted Ben Elliot is taking up this position and know he will bring the enthusiasm and skills this important role needs.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had already made an announcement to overhaul England’s waste system earlier in the year.
Households will also be obliged to collect food waste separately in order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being created when in landfill.
Currently, 43,000 tonnes of edible food is redistributed annually, although it is understood that Mr Gove wishes to further the progress being made, as a further 100,000 tonnes are still going to waste.
It is thought that a fifth of food waste however, comes from food and manufacturing, with a further tenth being lost in the hospitality sector.
Speaking about his appointment, Mr Elliot said: “Whilst families all over the country struggle to put food on the table and children still go to school each day with empty stomachs, there continues to be an unforgivable amount of food waste which is both morally deplorable and largely avoidable.”
He continued, saying that: “My new appointment will allow me to work with DEFRA and food retailers all over the country to help build out a nationwide strategy that will ensure surplus food is not wasted at the expense of those in our society that truly need it.”