The rising cost of food and fuel is undoubtedly the biggest current threat to the UK retail sector. Between the 20% price rise in food this year and the almost weekly increases in energy cap forecasts, consumers and businesses alike are bracing for a tough and frustrating winter.

However, as independent and multiple retailers reveal they are revaluating their best before dates, might the solution to rising food prices be in tackling another critical challenge for our industry?

Everybody hates waste. But a report released earlier this year by climate action NGO WRAP discovered that food waste is, worryingly, still in line with levels recorded in 2018 after a sharp decrease in 2020. ‘Busier lives’ post-lockdown is leading consumers to struggle to make meal plans for the week and avoid unplanned purchases.

In short, we were great at managing our food usage when there was little else to do. But now working late in the office and unplanned evening drinks have returned – more food at home is being wasted. In fact, almost three in 10 UK citizens classify as having higher levels of food waste.

Retailers and brands must help people manage this better. Our lead story in this month’s news round up is The Grocer’s analysis of how waste apps are evolving to tackle the food poverty crisis. Brands also need to show how they are playing their part. What more can your business do to improve shelf lives, help with meal planning, or adjust packs to minimise waste?

While comms around food waste used to be something that was used by businesses to outshine the competition, in today’s world it is simply expected. It must take a useful, relevant tone rather than a self-congratulatory one. People need help – real, sensible, achievable help. They do not want to see brands use the issues customers care about to show off.

Get in touch to find out how we are helping brands position themselves as unrivalled business partners for the difficult months ahead.

Five key FMCG stories this month

  1. The Grocer: How waste apps are evolving to resolve the food poverty crisis (£)

  2. Convenience Store: ‘Why I opened a Costcutter and Bargain Booze dual-branded store’

  3. Talking Retail: New convenience group opens third store in Scotland in three months

  4. betterRetailing: Retailers step up plans to tackle food waste as supermarkets scrap hundreds of best before dates

  5. Asian Trader: Plan for Profit to launch new HFSS product-check tool