Despite the panic buying we saw in the early stages of the pandemic, research is showing that Brits have cut food waste by 34% during the lockdown
Research conducted by sustainability group WRAP has found that people are starting to decrease food waste during the lockdown, with 63% also saying they visit the supermarket less often. However, nearly the same percentage of people said they actually brought more food on each trip.
Behaviours appear to be changing, and conscious decisions about planning, storing, and eating different foods is having an effect on the amount of food being disposed of.
Around 23% of people said they agreed with the statement, “everyone, including me, has a responsibility to minimise the food we throw away.”
This news comes after the UK coronavirus death toll hit 35,704 yesterday after a further 363 people died.
In 2018, UK households threw away nearly 6.6 million tonnes of food, according to WRAP. However, this figure was a reduction from 8.1 tonnes that was disposed of in 2007. These figures also showed that nearly three-quarters of this figure could have been eaten.
Special Advisor for household food waste campaign group Love Food Hate Waste, Helen White, explained that perfectly good food that is thrown away could cost a family around £700 a year. She also said that it is encouraging seeing a change in behaviour during these challenging times.
Mark Gover, CEO of WRAP, added:
“UK citizens have shown how resilient they can be when it comes to managing their food.”
He also said these actions could help take the pressure off the supply chain and reduce trips to the supermarket or deliveries made to your home.
The call for more information on best before dates
In the study carried out by WRAP, it also highlighted that only 51% of people polled know that apples will keep for longer if they are stored in the fridge.
WRAP also tweeted about frozen foods having more life in them than using the ‘best before end’ date. They mentioned that although foods have this date on them, they could actually be good to eat beyond this. However, they also said even well-frozen food will deteriorate.
There is a call for more information to be distributed about food storage to reduce wastage. However, the key findings from the report said that 85% or more people are undertaking more food management techniques, which includes freezing, batch cooking, using leftovers, and date labelling freezer items.
This news comes after Allergy UK, the leading UK charity for people living with allergic conditions, has appealed to shoppers to think about people with allergies before buying ‘free from’ foods for themselves or their families.
Recently, surplus food redistribution labelling guidance has been updated, which advises how long different foods may be suitable for redistribution after the ‘best before’ date. This new information by WRAP, the Foods Standard Agency and Defra is essential for businesses and redistribution organisations.
This comes after Ben Elliot, the Food Surplus and Waste Champion for Defra, said that:
“no good food should go to waste”
He continued by saying that all surplus food that is safe and suitable to eat should be redistributed to those that are vulnerable during this challenging time. He also urged businesses to review internal guidelines to ensure food reaches people faster.