Are you guilty of throwing away unused food? If so a new report suggests you are not alone. Seven in 10 British households admit to throwing away food before they’ve had a chance to cook it, as many as four times a month.
And a tenth of families dispose of up to 10 items each month that have gone off before being used.
Combined with cooking too much per meal, this leads to 2.23 kilograms of food being thrown out monthly that could have been saved.
On average, adults waste more than a tenth of each meal they prepare – throwing it away rather than finishing it.
And 49 per cent of the population don’t bother recycling their food waste, sending it straight to the main bin with their other rubbish.
Nearly a third don’t recycle food waste because they find the idea of a bin for rotting food off-putting.
And despite evidence to the contrary, a quarter believe they simply don’t waste enough food for a dedicated waste bin to be viable.
However, 37 per cent would be inclined to recycle more if waste could be turned into energy to power their home.
A poll of 2,000 adults revealed that rather than having a wasteful mentality, almost half of the country’s careless cooks admit to preparing too much food at mealtimes.
47 per cent of the nation say they struggle with portion control – by preparing too much food, or struggling to serve themselves healthy sized portions.
Incorrectly thinking they could tell how much of an ingredient was needed just by eye was among the top reasons for Brits not knowing how much to prepare for their dinners, along with a perception that cooking too much is better than rustling up too little.
And more than one in 10 believe that they simply don’t have time to weigh out ingredients before cooking them, leading to more waste.
Futurologist James Bellini, speaking on behalf of home appliance brand Grundig who commissioned the research, says: “Given the crucial importance of food issues over the coming decades the level of general awareness and concern is surprisingly low.
“But looking ahead to the 2020s and beyond to the 2030s it seems clear that emerging technologies, changing attitudes and greater commitment within the business and political communities could spark a new era for food.
“In which tackling waste and providing healthy and wholesome eating for all in a sustainable way will move significantly up the agenda.”
Pasta and rice were revealed to be the most common dishes that Brits prepare far too much of, followed by potatoes and fresh veg.
Four in 10 Brits say they have no idea how much of either pasta or rice is recommended for an adult to have with a meal – which is around 80g.
And more than two thirds simply try and ‘guesstimate’ how much to prepare when cooking a meal with these ingredients.
Alexandra Boon, Senior Marketing Manager – Growth Brands at Beko plc., says: “At Grundig, our Respect Food programme spans both product development and working with partners to use surplus food for good causes.
“We believe that the fight against food waste should begin at home in the kitchen. People should not only enjoy good food but respect it too – which means wasting less.
“Advanced technologies within the Grundig refrigeration range, such as Ion Fresh, No Frost Duo-Cooling system and Vitamin Care Zone already help to keep food fresher for longer.
“We’re committed to developing brand new technologies to further reduce food waste in the home and in our UK Research & Development centre we are currently working on sensors to detect food spoilage and methods to help users track and manage their food.”
James Bellini added: “In the end, technology has an important part to play in solving our food waste crisis, but without the commitment of people to new attitudes and a changed social outlook it will not be enough.”
RECOMMENDED PORTION SIZES FOR AN ADULT
Breakfast cereal: Three tablespoons (20g)
Boiled potatoes: Two small (egg sized) boiled potatoes
Rice: Two heaped tablespoons (80g)
Pasta: Three heaped tablespoons (80g)
Lean meat: 70g cooked meat, about the size of a deck of cards
Fish: 140g cooked dish, about the size of a chequebook
Eggs: Two medium eggs
Pulses: Five tablespoons (cooked)
Hard cheese: 25g of cheddar, about the size of a small matchbox
Dried fruit: Two figs, around 40g
Dark green leafy veg: Four heaped cooked tablespoons (80g)
FOODS MOST LIKELY TO GO OFF BEFORE USE
3. Salad leaves
6. Cooked meats