Figures from Defra showing UK households through away 17% of all food bought could be slashed if they opted for frozen equivalents instead, claims the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).
Commenting on the Department’s findings, Brian Young, director general of the BFFF, said: “When millions of people in the world go to bed hungry every night, it’s shocking to see that almost a fifth of food purchased is destined for the rubbish bin. If more consumers opted for frozen, there would be virtually zero waste from products perishing in the cupboard or fridge.”
The Household Food and Drink Waste linked to Food and Drink Purchases research by Defra showed a total 5.3m tonnes of avoidable waste: 32% is bread, 24% is potatoes and vegetables and 13% is meat and fish.
Young said: “Frozen products can have shelf lives of around 12 months or more depending on the product and will remain in peak condition for the duration of this when stored correctly. Fast and organised harvest and slaughter to freeze methods ensurenutrients and quality is locked in.
“However, fresh vegetables can spend up to 14 days in the supply chain where product quality and vitamin and mineral content declines. It is not surprising fresh produce often perishes before it can be consumed.”
Additional research from Defra shows increased pressure on family budgets is still high with an average spending of £39.23 per person per week on food and drink.
Young again: “Based on the research from Defra, we can estimate the average person wastes up to £26.68 per month on food that they ultimately throw away. Over the course of a year, this works out at £346.84 – money which could go towards ever increasing household bills or leisure activities. Aside from monetary savings linked to waste, frozen food is often more competitively priced than its fresh equivalent as longer shelf lives allows more efficient production ensuring supply always meets the demand.”
Vegetable waste costs households £1.5bn per year while waste fruit costs £1.2bn. Young said: “Technological advances in frozen food production mean a wider variety of frozen fruit and vegetable products are now readily available. Frozen potatoes, for example, come in many different formats – from chips and roast potatoes to croquettes and baked potatoes – meaning consumers don’t need to buy fresh to get the end result they want. Delicate berries and exotic fruits are also widely available in a frozen format allowing consumers to get the pick of the crop year round – only defrosting as and when they want to eat them.”
Single person households are likely to waste even more food with their total waste food and drink figure at 22%, according to Defra. In general, higher priced items were wasted at a lower rate than lower price items.
Young said: “While the cost of living continues to rise, it makes no sense to throw money away on produce that will not be consumed. Choosing frozen food can help families and individuals take control of their budgets and eat nutritious food year round. It is unsustainable and morally wrong to keep throwing away fresh food. We must be intelligent in our food choices, using frozen wherever possible, to make sure that money spent at the supermarket translates to food in our tummies – not food in the bin.”