Retail

Close To One Third Of UK Shoppers Waste More Food During Festive Season, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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Nearly one in three (31%) UK shoppers said they waste more food during the festive season, according to a survey conducted by Waitrose & Partners.

The poll also showed that 61% overbuy to ensure they do not run out of goods, while 16% find it difficult to judge how much they need to see them through.

The study, comprising 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas, was conducted to support the retailer's campaign to help halve UK household food waste by 2030.

It is also seeking to help customers save money and take care of their meal planning this Christmas, with chefs sharing tips on how to make the most of festive leftovers.

Food Waste Prevention

Some 35% of respondents said they would consume food items they do not particularly like to prevent food waste.

Elsewhere, 38% plan to give leftovers to their guests to take away, while 41% will try to get creative in the kitchen.

Sandwiches emerged as the most popular leftover dish, while 39% saying they would prepare a curry on St Stephen's Day (26 December). Elsewhere, 36% look forward to the traditional 'bubble and squeak', and 31% plan to use leftovers in making soup.

Zoe Simons, senior brand development chef at Waitrose, said, "Getting ready for the big day can be a stressful and exciting time, especially now we’re able to host family and friends once again after the pandemic. But both of these factors can cause people to buy much more food at Christmas than they actually need – and inevitably, a proportion of this unfortunately finds its way into the bin."

"It’s encouraging to learn that so many are taking care to reduce what they waste – particularly at Christmas – and we want to help where we can. That’s why we’ve come up with some simple and exciting ways to give people the impetus to work up something special with what may typically have been thrown away."

Other Findings

Potatoes, carrots and pigs in blankets topped the list of most popular households food items on Christmas Day, followed by sprouts and turkey, according to the study.

Around 49% of respondents said they would be more likely to cook with their leftovers if they had more inspiration in the kitchen.

Responding to food waste, 27% acknowledged the problem in their households, while 48% said their awareness of the issue has increased over the last five years.

Zoe Simons added, "As tends to be the case with environmental issues, there are often small changes we can make at home which can make a difference. Nobody buys food with the intention of throwing it in the bin, but with UK homes discarding 4.5 million tonnes of it every year, there are little steps you can take to reduce this waste.

"From planning your meals carefully over the Christmas period to ensure you’re buying the right amount for the number of people you’re hosting, to how you store your food. We’ve also made it easier for our customers by selling oddly shaped vegetables as well as forgotten cuts of meat - and we’re continuing to work closely with FareShare to donate surplus food to vulnerable families across the UK."

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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