Food waste costs UK families twice as much money as they think

Some 80 per cent of households surveyed think they waste little or no food

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The Independent Online

UK households are blowing twice as much money on wasted food as they think they are, according to research.

YouGov research commissioned by Sainsbury's shows that households think they waste no more than £30 a month on food.

The real figure is £58.30.

Some 80 per cent of households surveyed think they waste little or no food. Many believe the problem lies with supermarkets.

Meat and fish cost households most in food waste


Campaigns to get supermarkets to sell "ugly" fruit and vegetables have raised the profile of supermarket food waste. 

Fifteen million tonnes of food and drink is wasted in the food chain, or around a third of the food bought annually, according to the latest data available.

Almost half of all the food wasted comes from households.

Food is most often thrown away because people think they have not used it in time


“Food waste is one of the biggest issues facing us all today and with households unaware of just how much food they are binning there is a huge food waste knowledge gap," said Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s head of sustainability.

Sainsbury's has selected the town of Swadlincote in Derbyshire to conduct a trial on food waste. It has pledged £1 million to help the town cut household waste by 50 per cent, which could save up to £350 per houshold.

Fridge thermometers, smarter kitchen appliances and Olio, a food-sharing app, are among the innovative ideas that will be trialled in the town. Olio is an app that allows people to post their unwanted food for others to come and collect.

Nearly half of us don't know what the use-by date really means


Almost 80 per cent of people say they were motivated to try and minimise food waste by the possibility of saving money, according to Government data.

But almost 40 per cent of people think that food shouldn't be eaten after the use-by date.

In fact, the use-by date refers to the final day that the product is at optimum freshness, flavour, and texture. After this date, the food will start to decline. But it may still be edible for several days after this.