Stop Food Waste Day 2023

Photo by Mark Stebnicki:

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, it’s more important than ever to know the difference between usable and non-usable food to keep costs low and usable food out of waste bins. To mark Stop Food Waste Day (26th April), research from the UK’s #1 food saving app Too Good To Go reveals the shocking reality of edible food being wasted at home and the steps we can all take to prevent it.

Despite the soaring cost of food prices and an increase in strategic shopping, Brits are throwing away a staggering amount of perfectly edible food per week. This includes 18 million meat and dairy items, 22 million bread and pasta items, 30.9 million fruit and vegetables and 8.7 million sweets, crisps, and chocolate – enough to feed the population of Thailand for a day.

Although a quarter of people (24%) are spending more money on food than they were last year, worryingly almost 1 in 10 (8%) of these are now wasting more, as consumers are unable to afford products that stand the test of time and last longer in the fridge.

When it comes to why usable food gets wasted, it’s clear that consumers are still choosing to follow use-by dates blindly, as opposed to their own senses. Over half (56%) of people surveyed check the use by date to determine if a product is still edible, a quarter (26%) check the best-before date and only 13% actually taste a sample of the product to see if it’s fresh.

Food waste is a nationwide issue. When it comes to meat and dairy, Londoners (47%) and those in Northern Ireland (46%) are the most wasteful, with almost half throwing away at least 1-2 meat and dairy items per week. Those in East Anglia (26%), the South East (28%) and South West (28%) are more careful, with around a quarter of people throwing away at least 1-2 usable meat and dairy items.

When it comes to fruit and veg, Londoners (68%) and Northern Ireland (65%) are the worst offenders for throwing away at least 1-2 edible fruit and vegetables per week, compared to only half of people in Wales (53%) and Yorkshire (54%).

The research also reveals that the older generation has a thing or two to teach millennials, showing that a shocking 71% of 18–34-year-olds are throwing away at least one piece of fruit or vegetables per week, whereas less than half (43%) of those aged 55+ are doing the same. Similarly, almost a quarter of those aged 55+ claim to not throw any food away versus only 3% of 18–24-year-olds.

Sophie Trueman, Country Director of Too Good To Go UK and Ireland said: “We know that everyone is feeling the pinch of the cost-of-living crisis and the price of everyday essentials has continued to soar. We are on a mission to fight food waste, something which is not only great for our planet, but can also help consumers cut costs – ultimately making their money go further. Our belief is that you don’t need to sacrifice buying your favourite foods in order to be sustainable and save money – you can instead adapt your habits, so you make the most out of everything you buy.”

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