How much food is wasted in total across the UK?
Food is a valuable resource and yet in the UK around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year. Almost 50% of this comes from our homes.
WRAP, the organisation which brings you Love Food Hate Waste not only raises awareness of the issues and benefits of reducing food waste along with easy every day solutions but also works to bring about changes to the way food is packaged, labelled and sold which make it easier for us all to buy the right amount of food, and use what we buy.
We all have a part to play in reducing the amount of food and drink we throw away – from farm to fork. Lovefoodhatewaste.com has some great ways to help us make a difference and here are some examples of what others are doing:
- People often say that loaves of bread are too big which is why they throw some away – Warburton’s launched a range of 600g loaves and Kingsmill launched the “Little Big Loaf”
- Many of us are confused by date labels on our food. ‘display until’ dates are being removed all the time by retailers and brands and it's rare to see 'seel-by' dates at all making it easier to see the important ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates.
- The Co-operative and Morrisons provide storage advice on their free loose produce bags, reminding us that keeping most fruit & veg in the fridge helps it stay fresher for longer.
- Heinz launched an innovative “Fridge Pack” for baked beans which can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days after opening, giving us longer to eat the product. Snap packs were also developed to give handy single person portions (Top tip – you can freeze baked beans if you know you won’t be able to eat them in time – freeze within two days of opening and then defrost in the microwave and heat till piping hot)
- Food getting damaged because its exposed to the air in the fridge and freezer can be avoided by sealing our food well before storing it. Birds Eye introduced re-closable packs for both frozen peas and fish-fingers, to help us reduce waste.
- M&S and Sainsbury’s have updated their guidance on when you can freeze their products, making it clearer that you can freeze suitable foods anytime before the date, not just on the day of purchase.
- Asda reviewed their products and as a result gave us an additional 14,000 days of shelf life across 1,672 products. They also launched new re-closable salad bags to help us waste less of it.
Find out what retailers and brands are doing to help us waste less.
Community groups, charities and councils are also making a real difference. A partnership between Love Food Hate Waste and the Women’s Institute (WI) helped participants throw away 50% less food waste. The WI now has funding to work with young parents from disadvantaged backgrounds in England as part of it’s Let’s Cook Local project, which Love Food Hate Waste is supporting. West London Councils recently ran a project which reduced the amount those residents wasted by 14% - saving the public and the council money.
More detail on the food that's wasted across the UK from other sectors such as retailers, manufacturers and the hospitality industry can be found at the WRAP website here.