Brand Ambassador appointed in company’s war on food waste

Morris & Son, the sister company of Approved Food, the UK’s largest online discount food retailer of surplus food and drink, has teamed up with waste prevention guru Jonathan Straight to underline its commitment to reducing food waste.

Together, Jonathan and Morris & Son Director Andy Needham are calling on supermarkets to allow more access to food further up the supply chain, before it is delivered to store, so it can be made available for redistribution.

This would include supermarket branded products that have been produced by the manufacturer but are deemed to be too close to their best before date, or stock rejected by supermarkets because there has been a change in packaging design.

The Morris & Son Group campaigns for better education about best before dates on food labels, which it says leads to confusion over what is safe to eat and ultimately results in families throwing away perfectly edible food.

Andy said that changing the attitude of both companies and individuals to the way ‘problem’ stock was dealt with is a vital element in the fight against food waste. He added: “Collaborating with Jonathan, a respected and influential figure in the waste prevention sector, will help establish Morris & Son to become a leading force in the problem stock arena.

“I had been aware of Jonathan for a number of years and had seen the development of his business, Straight plc, over that time. When he sold the company in 2014, having successfully floated it on the London Stock Exchange, I continued to see positive reports of his work within the waste sector. I knew we needed to develop our awareness along additional paths to those we were pursuing so I contacted Jonathan and set up an initial meeting to see if we had mutual interests, which we did.

“Shockingly, the UK wastes more than 10 million tonnes of food and drink, worth £20 billion, every year. We have to stop wasting all our resources – there is not an infinite supply of anything but we have been acting as if there is. It has to change to protect future generations.”

Instantly recognisable from his waxed moustache and eye-catching spectacles, Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Jonathan sits on the WRAP [Food] Redistribution Working Group and is involved with several charities including the Real Junk Food Project.

He said: “I started Straight plc because as a society we were not recycling and I felt we needed to. That business was sold in 2014, but the passion and will to continue to make positive changes was very much still there. This role allows me to continue this good work but with a focus on one of the key areas still needing a lot of attention, which is food waste.

“Food going to waste is a key component in climate change and this is without doubt the biggest challenge we are facing as a society. So much of what is regarded as waste is actually good to eat. We are seeking to educate suppliers and consumers in order that we can all do better, throw away less and help the environment at the same time.”

The collaboration has already seen both Andy and Jonathan sign a pledge to reduce food waste at the recent Step Up To The Plate event in London in May. The then Environment Secretary Michael Gove praised Approved Food and others who signed the pledge, adding: “Congratulations to Approved Food for stepping up to the plate and committing to game-changing action to cut food waste. The UK is showing real leadership in this area, and together we will end the environmental and economic scandal that is food waste.”

Approved Food campaigns for better education about best before dates on food labels, which it says leads to confusion over what is safe to eat and ultimately results in families throwing away perfectly edible food. The company specialises in selling short-dated food and drink, along with items that maybe slightly imperfect, for example with slightly damaged or obsolete packaging.

PHOTO: Andy Needham and Jonathan Straight