The Pig Idea Campaign Launched to Curb Food Waste

Food waste expert Tristram Stuart and the Feeding the 5000 team, in partnership with chef Thomasina Miers, announced on World Environment Day The Pig Idea, a new initiative that aims to encourage the use of food waste to feed pigs.

To mark this year’s World Environment Day, The Pig Idea team will be launching a new campaign at London's Stepney City Farm, where for the next six months they will be rearing 8 pigs primarily on a diet of legally permissible food waste.

In addition to diverting legally permissible food waste that is unfit for human consumption, the campaign calls for the lifting of the EU ban on the feeding of catering waste, or swill, to pigs.

This year’s World Environment Day themes, Food Waste and Sustainable Consumption, make clear the need to change the way we view our food and tackle food waste throughout our food system, to safeguard the health of our planet and all the organisms that live on it. In line with these paramount issues The Pig Idea, in achieving its goals, aims to:

  • Liberate food supplies
  • Lower feed costs for pig farmers
  • Reduce economic and environmental costs of disposing of food waste
  • Protect landscapes rich in biodiversity, such as the precious Amazon Rainforest
  • Create jobs and revenue in the new eco-feed industry

Presently, pigs are being fed food that humans could otherwise eat, pushing the prices of food inexorably up (both for us and for pigs), putting pressure on world food supplies and contributing to global hunger. Much of Europe’s livestock feed is soy, grown in South America where rainforest is being cut down at an alarming rate. 97 percent of global soy production is used for animal feed and Europe now imports 40 million tonnes of soymeal a year.

Some supermarkets and major food retailers are already waking up to the issue of food waste and have begun sending their bakery and fruit and vegetable waste to become livestock feed. Businesses can save huge amounts of money dealing with their surplus stock in this way. Rather than paying from £60 to over £100 per tonne to dispose of their food waste – costing the food industry across Europe millions of pounds a year, some farmers are even willing to pay food retailers for this cheap alternative feed. One food manufacturer in England reported saving the equivalent of over £100,000 a year by selling its bread waste as livestock feed for £20 per tonne, instead of paying an anaerobic digestion plant £80 per tonne to dispose of it. ( #thepigidea)

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