A programme of whole chain resource efficiency Pathfinder projects. 

This work involves reviewing a range of products from the farm to the consumer, and how information in the chain is used to plan and drive production. 

The aims of this work are to:
  • Identify resource ‘hotspots’ for selected products across whole supply chains;
  • Demonstrate that preventing waste and using less water and energy are compatible with commercial objectives; and
  • Showcase best practice in method and results to the wider industry to encourage self-help.

Building your business case

Engaging your colleagues, business and supply chain

A short presentation 'WRAP WCRE Business case' (see downloads below) introduces the approach and benefits of running a whole chain resource efficiency project is available to help businesses sell the concept both internally and to targeted parts of the supply chain.  

Critical Success Factors for running a whole chain project

It demonstrates that the approach requires no specialist skills or technical knowledge (though an understanding of the principles of lean-thinking will help).

WCRE Toolkit Whole Chain Resources Efficiency (WCRE) Toolkit

A ‘Self-help toolkit’ (see download below) has been developed which is based on our experience of running many waste prevention projects.

The full toolkit is made up of a number of templates, tools and checklists to help you assemble a team and implement our tested problem solving approach. It also includes a true cost of waste screening tool to map where significant losses occur in the chain and where action can add real value. The toolkit is flexible and can be adapted to meet the needs of particular products and companies who wish to follow this approach.


The approach we have adopted is based on value stream mapping in which the current resource use is mapped across whole supply chains from farm to fork. We then envision a future state for each supply chain that uses less resource and produces less waste, without compromising commercial objectives, and develop a transformation plan.  

The information in the sections below outline the methodology that we are using and provide details of the projects that are being run. For each completed project we have published a full case study. 


Here is a list of the completed projects:

  • Pork value chain (NEW)
  • Potato value chain
  • Apples value chain
  • Onions value chain

We are also working on several other projects. We will share the details once they have been completed.

Next steps

Based on the findings of these projects, WRAP will work with the participating businesses to secure improvements in resource efficiency. We will also draw out the wider applications of these projects and work with the relevant industry bodies to more widely disseminate the results.  

As well as delivering real changes in resource efficiency, these projects also form a key part of evidence gathering for the development of Courtauld Commitment 2025. As such, the data and other insights obtained will be used as part of the development process for Courtauld 2025.

Further Whole Chain Resource Efficiency Projects
WRAP plans to run up to three further whole chain projects in each of next 2-3 years targeting key products and supply chains based on the findings drawn from the Knowledge Base. Further calls for ‘Expressions of Interest’ will be made from time to time. 

Beef value chain (New)

WRAP worked with a number of businesses and other organisations to review evidence for opportunities to reduce environmental impacts and improve efficiency across beef supply chains.  Environmental and economic performance often go hand in hand, and we found that there are opportunities to both improve efficiency and generate better returns for all parts of the supply chain; all of which can be achieved without compromising commercial performance. The results of this review are summarised in the document 'Tackling hotspots in the beef supply chain' below.

WRAP continues to develop this work further under the Courtauld Commitment 2025, in collaboration with signatories and the wider industry.

Pork value chain

We looked at two pork chains:

Morrisons identified potential procurement savings of over £1 million, achievable by working together with its suppliers.  Having identified in-take variability as a ‘hotspot’ in the value chain, the focus of the project was on quantifying the cost and opportunities for reduction. 

Read the full Morrisons case study below for further details.

Annual retail savings of £395,000, with significant further opportunities, were achieved in this whole chain collaboration project between Co-operative Food, its pork supplier, Tulip and their pig producers. The project demonstrates how savings were realised by matching product ranges against patterns of consumer demand in different store clusters and how variability in the supply of pigs could be addressed through simple benchmarking of batches.

Read the full Pork case study below for further details.

Potato value chain

This project demonstrates how value is being lost at different stages of the supply chain, identifying resource efficiency opportunities that could save the Co-operative Group some £600,000 per annum.

The key opportunities are:

  • A focus on maximising pack-out rates (as well as yield) so that more of the harvested crop is available for sale to consumers; 
  • Less electricity can be used in storage without impacting quality, saving emissions and cost; 
  • Less water could be used to grow the crops; 
  • Reductions in material usage can be achieved by rationalising packaging and staff training; 
  • Transport costs, fuel and emissions can be reduced; and
  • Effective supply chain collaboration, for example through order timing and promotional planning, can save significant costs. 

Read the full Potato value chain case study below for further details.

We have also drawn out 'Increasing profitability' key messages (see below) on resource use and profitability in the potato supply chain drawing on this and other work on potatoes within WRAP. 

Since this work was completed the Cooperative Group have announced their intention to sell their farm network which was included in the project. 

Apples values chain

This project demonstrated that waste in Budgens’ stores is a key resource hotspot in the apples value chain. Budgen’s could readily save £60,000 per annum through no or low cost measures that are being implemented as a result of the project.

Our approach used value stream mapping to examine resource use from the farm to consumer. This enabled waste to be prioritised as the key hotspot for this value chain.  

Waste prevention is being achieved by a combination of:

  • A range review resulting in simplification and a greater sourcing emphasis on the UK season; 
  • Better in-store planning/marketing and reduction of pre- and post-promotional waste product or mark downs by allowing all stores to have visibility of product origin, promotions and a seasonal calendar; and
  • Scale economies for UK suppliers which allow for packaging improvements as well as direct supply to Budgens’ depots, saving transport time, costs and emissions.
Read the full Apples value chain case study (below) for further details.

Onions value chain

This project demonstrated that better onion utilisation could increase both yields and throughput saving £370,000 per annum. 

The key opportunities are:

  • Understanding that size variability is as significant as quality in onion intake;
  • Investigating what the supply chain can do to influence this variability;
  • Finding solutions so that the optimum specification of onion is used for the premium ring line;
  • Considering a change to procurement strategy to avoid pure ‘price point’ trading;
  • Communicating temperature load requirements to growers to avoid cooling more than necessary; and
  • Re-engineering production to deliver to customer pull, not supplier push.
Read the full Onions value chain case study below for further details.

Download files

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These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

  • WRAP-WCRE Toolkit V2.pdf

    PDF, 1.25 MB

  • WRAP-MyFresh onions case study Final March 2015.pdf

    PDF, 547.96 KB

  • WRAP-Coop Tulip Pork case study March 2016.pdf

    PDF, 867.84 KB

  • WRAP-Increasing Profitability in the Potato Supply Chain.pdf

    PDF, 650.7 KB

  • WRAP-Morrisons Pork Variability Case Study published.pdf

    PDF, 946.57 KB

  • WRAP-Coop Potatoes Pathfinder Project_Case Study.pdf

    PDF, 650.2 KB

  • WRAP-Musgraves apples case study Final March 2015.pdf

    PDF, 770.21 KB

  • WRAP-WCRE Business Case Final March 2015.pdf

    PDF, 1.31 MB

  • WRAP-Tackling hotspots in the beef value chain_Published March 2017 (2).pdf

    PDF, 596.72 KB