Research commissioned by pladis via OnePoll found the average British adult tosses away more than £400 of food annually – despite the increasing costs of food.
A poll of 2,000 adults found 67% have purchased food items, well aware they will end up throwing some of it away or not even come close to using it.
Twenty-nine percent blame this practice on being ‘forced’ to buy pack sizes that are larger than they need, while 37% know they won’t use the entire product before its expiry date.
The study found fresh produce was the main culprit, including bags of salad, cucumbers and fruit like blueberries, grapes, apples and oranges. Cream is also a big waster, with only a fraction of the product actually used. Veg like carrots and potatoes are regularly binned, too.
Twenty-eight percent admit to tossing out food on a weekly basis.
The research also found 30% of parents believe they waste more food now than they did while single, with 47% blaming it on offspring who are picky-eaters. Another 28% admit to not being quick enough to catch the food that little ones typically fling to the floor.
But 43% of adults believe they need to be more resourceful with food now due to the cost of living and how expensive everything is getting.
Even more shocking is the fact that in the UK in April 2020, 7.3 million British adults and 2.6 million children experienced food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal would come from, according to Food Foundation.
Less waste and more taste
To bring this unpleasant reality into sharp focus, pladis has installed 4.5-metre-high fridge on London’s Southbank, filled with oversized plastic models of the most commonly wasted foods.
It has also forged a partnership with FareShare, and will be donating 40,000 meals over the next year to support the charity’s network of nearly 9,500 charities and community organisations across the UK.
“In the current climate, making food stretch further is becoming a huge priority for Brits,” said Kate Stokes, senior brand manager of Jacob’s at pladis UK&I.
“So, as the UK’s number one savoury biscuit brand, we’ve launched a campaign that will provide shoppers with the inspiration they need to make the most of what’s already in their fridges.”
To do so, Jacob’s has enlisted sustainability campaigner and London-based developmental chef Martyn Odell to create three simple-to-make canapes, topping its crackers with the most commonly wasted ingredients.
Fronting the campaign is Olympic gold-medallist Greg Rutherford and his wife, social media influencer Susie Verrill, who will be creating a series of social media content to highlight the easy ways shoppers can reduce food waste at home.
“While most people know me as a long jumper, my most important role is doing my best to be a champion dad,” Rutherford told the media.
“I hate food waste and it’s important to both Susie and I to set a good example to our kids.
“I’m delighted to be working with one of the most innovative food waste chefs in the country to help more Brits understand how they can get more creative with the food in their fridges.”
Added Chef Odell, “I’m passionate about helping people to reduce their food waste and one of the easiest ways to do this is to eat the food you buy and we want to help people do just that.
“These simple snack ideas using Jacob’s crackers have been created using the most commonly wasted food items, so as to help people use up the food they would otherwise throw away.”
Just how resourceful are you?
One of the biggest barriers in turning the tide on food waste is the consumer belief that this scenario does not apply to them.
But with 19% of UK adults saying they don’t bother with leftovers and only 17% inventing recipes based on items they have left over in their fridge, there are a lot more food wasters out there than réchauffé wizards. To find out where you stand, Jacob’s has also created a quiz that reveals just how resourceful you are.
Added Stokes, “The Jacob’s portfolio consists of fan-favourite products which shoppers have been topping, dipping and sandwiching for over 160 years – and it’s this versatility that makes our crackers the perfect centrepiece for getting creative with leftovers.”