Half of Brits aren’t making an active effort to cut down on their food waste, Asda survey finds

During lockdown, Brits were batch cooking and using up leftovers. As the ‘new normal’ sets in, time pressures and evenings out return – are Brits still considering their food waste?

A survey led by supermarket Asda has revealed more than half of Brits (51 per cent) aren’t making an active effort to cut down on food waste, with 17 per cent throwing leftovers away, and 34 per cent using food waste bins – which don’t actually recycle the waste.

The UK bins 4.5m tonnes of edible food each year1 – which is around the same weight as 38 million wheelie bins. In fact, more than a third (38 per cent) admit to emptying the fridge out before the ‘use by’ date comes around, despite the Food Standards Agency2 confirming it’s safe to consume before, or on, the ‘use by’ date.

In partnership with We Are Futures, Asda has created a Food Rangers education programme, with around 100,000 children across the UK signed up to explore solutions around food waste. As part of the retailer’s mission to reduce food waste by at least 50 per cent by 2030, Asda will be talking to 1,500 schools across the nation this Sustainable September, helping families save money and the planet, through simple swaps.

The research found that less than a fifth (16 per cent) of Brits know how much food waste costs our nation every year. The most common answer (23 per cent of respondents) was £10 million – however it’s one thousand times that, at a whopping £10 billion3. This works out around £300-400 per household – or up to as much as £720 for those with children!

More than half (57 per cent) of those surveyed also said they were more likely to better manage food waste at home, now they know how much it’s costing them. Seems an extra holiday could be on the cards next year?

Asda’s senior manager for Zero Waste, Karen Todd, says:, “As one of the biggest carbon generators, reducing food waste should be a key priority for everyone. 51% of Brits are still throwing away leftovers or putting them in compost bins – neither of which help reduce food waste”.

“There are plenty of small changes we all could make to help reduce both food waste and our carbon footprint. Whether it’s planning meals in advance, repurposing or preserving

leftovers – or even just making a conscious effort to recognise the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates – having a conscious mindset over food waste can help reduce the impact to both your pocket and the planet”.

To find out more information on the Food Rangers programme and the types of simple swaps you can carry out at home, please visit www.nationalschoolspartnership.com/initiatives/asda-food-rangers/

1 Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP): Food Surplus and Waste in the UK (2021)
2 Gov.uk: Best before and use by dates
3 Cheaperwaste.co.uk: The Complete 2021 Guide to Food Waste

FoodAmount thrown away (daily) in UK
Bread20m slices
Milk3.1m glasses
Potatoes4.4m whole potatoes
Ham2.2m slices