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August BBQs Causing Huge Food Waste

meat and vegetables on kebab skewers on a grill

Britons are set to throw away around £428 million worth of BBQ food this August, according to a recent study.

The wastage is blamed mostly on over-catering, with excess food ending up in the bin.

BBQ weather arrives

With the arrival of August, many Brits think about lighting up the BBQ every time the weather is fair. It’s a great occasion for all the family to sit outside, enjoy the sun, and try something a little different from normal tea-time fare.

meat on a BBQ

Around 12 million BBQs will be lit during the course of the month. Average figures suggest that people will attend or host at least two of the gatherings before September arrives. It’s one of the most popular summer pastimes, and can be a central part of great memories during the summer holidays.

But it’s also a time of great wastage. Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has carried out research which suggests that 49.2% of people will put on a larger spread than is actually needed, leading to a lot of leftover food that no one wants to eat.

The top five food items to go the way of the bin are salad leaves, burger rolls, hot dog buns, coleslaw, and potato salad. These foodstuffs can add up to an average of £36.47 at each event – despite the fact that most of the items will be fine for use during the week after the BBQ, as food supply chain professionals will easily tell you.

Bags of salad are the most likely items to be thrown away – 178 million of them are left in the rubbish every year in the UK, and BBQs are obviously a big culprit in that wastage.

Food wastage unnecessary

Many people are wasting food that doesn’t need to be thrown away. 26.6% of people say that they will throw away uneaten salad if it has been left outside without a cover, even if only for a short time. In truth, a simple rinse and check of the leaves would be enough to determine whether or not it is safe to eat.

22% said that fussy eaters were to blame for the leftovers, but gave no excuse on why the food couldn’t be eaten up afterwards. Others said that bread buns and rolls were left out because of the carb-free and gluten-free diets that many people follow.

“Britons want to give their guests a fantastic barbecue experience with enough options to please everyone’s tastes,” said Paul Crewe, head of sustainability, engineering, energy and environment at Sainsbury’s. “However, a good plan for leftovers will mean hosts can still offer their friends a feast fit to remember without … food ending up in the bin.”

You don’t have to have a food job to be a warrior against waste, as Crewe pointed out. He suggested that hosts could use several different tactics to reduce leftovers. This could include making a set menu beforehand that guests can choose from, putting together doggy bags with food for guests to take home, and making plans for using up the leftovers during the week after the BBQ.

The report was put together as part of the Waste Less, Save More initiative that Sainsbury’s are using to try to tackle food waste in the home. They have also introduced new packaging for BBQ essentials which lists tips for reducing waste – with 70 products now dishing out the helpful advice.

Food waste is a serious concern, both in terms of the environment and on the effect it causes for the individual pocket. With food prices rising, it makes sense to try to be as efficient as possible with what you buy.