New research from Samsung Digital Appliances, supported by Love Food Hate Waste uncovers the nation’s habit for ‘overshopping’.
• A nation of ‘overshoppers’: Average household in East Anglia estimates it throws away £488.80 worth of food every year, almost 15% less than the national claimed average - only people in Scotland throw away less
• Eyes bigger than Bellies: 44% of people in East Anglia cook too much food and end up throwing it away
• Expiry dates confuse us: 44% of East Anglians say they throw food away unnecessarily as they are confused about ‘Best Before’ dates – compared to the national average of 45%
• We don’t know how to use our fridges: 84% of people in East Anglia don’t use bespoke fridge compartments that extend the shelf life of food – compared to 82% of Brits generally
A new independent study released by Samsung Digital Appliances has revealed the UK to be a nation of ‘overshoppers’. The average household estimates they throw away up to £572 worth of food every year unnecessarily – equating to an estimated £15.1 billion across every household* in the UK. With almost three quarters of us (73%) doing a ‘big’ shop once a week and 83% of us also topping up with fresh food between shops, the research suggests we are simply buying too much.
The independent survey of 2,000 people, supported by national food waste campaign Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW), reveals that the average household estimates that it throws away around 7% of its food each week.
The foods that Brits think they most often throw out are;
Ready meals and convenience foods
Milk and fruit juices
Cheese and yoghurt
Almost half (44%) admit to at least occasionally throwing out unopened packs of food or fruit that has gone bad. Whilst the survey shows our eyes are bigger than our bellies with 46% acknowledging they often cooked too much food only to end up throwing it away, furthermore only 9% of people actually measure out portion sizes before cooking.
Better food storage = less food wastage
The research reveals that 82% of Brits don’t use the special compartments that come with their refrigerator. Just one in every six people (18%) have a strict system of storing food in their fridge-freezer, with separate containers, sections and shelves for different kinds of food and drink.
Confusion over food labelling is another reason for wastage. Almost half (45%) of respondents admitted they aren’t guided by the ‘Use By’ date when deciding whether or not their food needs to be thrown out. Instead, they get rid of food based on its ‘Best Before’ dates, even though foods outside of these dates can often still be safe to eat if it they been stored properly.
People in the West Midlands are revealed to be the most wasteful, with the average household estimating that they throw out £731.64 worth of food every year, almost 30% more than the national claimed average. People in the West Midlands are followed by people in;
London - £659.36
North East - £632.84
East Midlands - £617.24
South West - £539.24
There is not much food that can’t be frozen and the freezer is a great tool for helping to avoid waste. However the research uncovered the fact that most people don’t realise this, with the top groceries people didn’t know they could freeze revealed to be;
The survey also revealed the weird and wonderful things people have frozen in the past, the most common of which included computer hard drives to recover data, camcorders to reset the memory, a car stereo to break the code and fishing bait.
Explaining why Samsung undertook the research, Lana Sanleandro, Head of Marketing, Home Appliances, Samsung UK, commented; “Food wastage is a huge issue in the UK and something that every household contributes to, which this study clearly shows. But it’s also something that everyone can do something about, whether that be through better management of the weekly shop, more preparation when making meals and simply by learning about the best conditions to store different sorts of foods. We’ve teamed up with Love Food Hate Waste to address the UK’s food wastage problem as our refrigeration range includes smart features that help to reduce food waste through optimal storage, humidity control and flexible storage options.”
Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste added: “There are simple steps we can all take to cut food waste, such as making better use of our fridges and freezers, so we’re very pleased to be supporting Samsung in helping its customers to waste less food. We are looking forward to publishing detailed new figures on just how much UK households are actually throwing away, and what they’re throwing away, next month.”