There has been a rise in campaigning and attention focusing on food waste in the domestic home setting and across industry in terms of production, manufacturing, distribution and retailing. At the same time, the proliferation of food banks and more general emergency food aid across the UK has drawn attention to the problem of household food insecurity. Calls for actions to reduce food waste and reduce food insecurity have led to recommendations for enhancing systems to increase the redistribution of surplus food to emergency food aid charities as a solution to food insecurity.
This briefing paper analyses the benefits and drawbacks of the use of surplus food to feed food insecure people, highlighting how this practice undermines calls for direct actions to both reduce the production of surplus food and to address upstream drivers of food insecurity and ensure the right to food. Recommendations call for civil society and policymakers to focus on systemic solutions to both food waste and household food insecurity as separate entities.