New research by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is set to uncover how much waste is generated by pre-packed sandwiches. It is the first big study into the amount of waste in the UK retail supply chain created by pre-prepared food and aims to identify how this can be reduced, so that businesses can make cost and environmental savings.

Covering sandwiches, pizzas, quiches and ready meals, the research will develop detailed ‘resource maps’ to highlight waste generated at key stages in the chilled and frozen supply chains.

It will also calculate the associated carbon emissions and economic impact, as well as the amount of water used and disposed of during the manufacture of these products.

The maps will also include WRAP data on levels of packaging and food waste from households, so that a whole chain can be seen and the ‘hot spots’ identified. Best-practice guidance covering storage, handling and packaging will then be produced.

WRAP is urging companies throughout the sector to take part in the research. Data collection will include a comprehensive industry survey and company-specific resource minimisation reviews, covering 80% of the UK market for the products selected.

Charlotte Henderson, retail supply chain programme manager at WRAP, said: “Identifying where waste is generated, and the reasons why, will help the development of effective solutions that are tailored to these products, with learnings then applied across the category.

“By sharing these with the sector, we aim to help companies at all stages of the supply chain access these commercial and environmental benefits.”

Jim Winship, director of the British Sandwich Association, said: “We believe [the project] will both assist businesses to better manage waste and cut costs, while also helping the environment and the drive for greater sustainability.”

Businesses interested in getting involved with the project should email