Government-funded organisation WRAP has called for bakery firms, food manufacturers and food-to-go businesses to sign up for a new food and packaging waste initiative.

Almost 70 firms have signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, launched yesterday UK-wide, including high street bakery chain Greggs and Ashford-based foodservice supplier Brakes.

The agreement is a voluntary pledge made by UK hospitality and foodservice companies to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% - a total CO2 reduction of 234,000 tonnes.

WRAP’s scheme also aims to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to AD or composted to 70%.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive officer of WRAP, said: “Tackling food waste brings significant financial and environmental benefits, as already demonstrated through our work on household food waste and within the Courtauld Commitment.

“I am therefore delighted that so many organisations have signed up already to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, and we continue to urge businesses, large and small, to sign up.”

WRAP is providing businesses with online tools, workshops, working groups and expert advice to help achieve the targets. The agreement has been developed in response to research conducted by WRAP, which revealed that the foodservice and hospitality industry could save an estimated £724m a year by increasing recycling rates and preventing food waste.

Lord Taylor, minister for environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said: “This new agreement shows these household names are committed to stopping this terrible waste of food.  By taking additional steps to reduce the amount of food waste, these businesses and organisations will stop the equivalent of 100 million wasted meals going to the bin and save themselves money – a win-win for everyone.”