UK households throw away a third of the food they buy (30%) despite three in four making attempts to prevent wastage, a new study commissioned by Waitrose & Partners has revealed.
The average weekly shop among UK households is £64, which means that food worth £19.20 is wasted per week.
The study, conducted by OnePoll/72Point in October 2021, included 2,000 people living in the UK.
Around 51% of the respondents said they had not considered the impact of food waste on the environment.
The study also highlighted that 55% felt their local council should do more to help them with disposing of unavoidable household food waste.
Most Wasted Items
Salad leaves, bread and milk were among the top three in the list of most wasted household food items.
Other items commonly ending up in the bin are bananas, cucumber, strawberries and potatoes.
The study also found that one in seven (14%) did not check use-by dates, while nearly one in 10 bought more than they needed in the first place.
More than a fifth of the respondents said they forgot about items they had bought until it was too late, despite 67% planning their food shopping in advance.
Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said, "When we think of the triggers of global warming, we think about fumes pumping out from power stations, car exhausts or planes. But in fact, food waste creates six times more greenhouse gases than aviation.
"When we throw food away, we waste the precious resources it’s taken to grow, package and transport it – and as it rots in landfill, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. So the simple action of throwing food in the bin has more of a negative impact on our planet than people often realise."
More than one in 10 respondents said they did ‘not thinking twice’ about throwing away food, with a further 20% saying they did not feel guilty about binning fruit and vegetables as they did for meat.
In addition, 71% think nothing of throwing away their fruit and vegetable peelings because they see no other use for them.
As a result, 81% discarded their fruit and vegetable peelings, with 16% not seeing any nutritional benefit of these kinds of leftovers.
Rompani added, "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, we clearly need to take more action.
"This is why, through our Partners Against Waste platform, we have pledged to halve food waste in our supply chain by 2030. We also want to make it easier for our customers by selling oddly shaped vegetables in our A Little Less Than Perfect range as well as forgotten cuts of meat. We also continue to work closely with FareShare to donate surplus food to vulnerable families across the UK."