A new poll has found that only 3% of adults in the UK feel any shame at wasting food.
Despite the fact that many households are conscious of turning off lights and other energy-saving methods, food waste is not a big concern for the public.
Sainsbury’s carried out the survey of UK householders and found some very interesting results. More than 5,000 adults in the UK took part in the poll, which shows that food waste is not attributed the same value as other habits.
74% of adults will actively remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room, while 55% will turn down the heating. It seems as though money saving is a big issue here: 32% have changed energy suppliers in order to keep their bills at a lower price, which has allowed them on average to save £200 a year.
These changes altogether would save the average household £305 on an annual basis. It sounds fair – but most families also waste a huge amount of food. It is estimated that £700 a year is spent on food that is thrown away without being eaten, normally because it goes off.
“Wasting food costs £700 a year for the average family. That’s money that could be spent on everyday essentials. Both Sainsbury’s and Wrap want to help people see the benefits in making the most of their food,” says Richard Swannell from Wrap, the government’s food advisory body.
A New Trial
Sainsbury’s is currently carrying out trails in Swadlincote, a town in Derbyshire, with now technology. This tech aims to cut food waste, and is costing around £1 million – but it could certainly be a worthwhile venture.
So what is included in these new ideas? Smart fridges allow you to check what kind of food you have at home even when you are out at the shop, and apps like Olio allow you to exchange that food with other users – or simply give it away to a home that could use it.
They are also launching a waste less, save more campaign to encourage shoppers to think about how their food waste could affect their bank balance.
“We know our customers are concerned about food waste in their own homes, which is why we’ve committed £10m to help tackle the issue as part of our ‘waste less, save more’ programme,” says the CEO of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe. “Wasting food has become so normal, there is now no stigma attached to throwing food away. The report shows that people are cost-conscious and making concerted efforts to turn off lights and minimise energy use. However, people are still overlooking the much bigger savings that could be delivered by simply throwing away less food.”
A Rallying Call
This is just one small part of a movement towards reducing wastage which has been dominating the food industry for some time. Olio is simply the cherry on top of a long list of apps and start-ups dedicated to sharing food, and supermarkets are declaring their allegiance to the cause also.
This is an exciting time for food recruitment, as more companies will be looking to take on advisors who can help them cut down on waste.
If you already have a food career, you may be in a good position to help with the reduction of food waste. The hospitality industry in particular is a large source for waste, with pre-cooked food and ingredients at the end of their shelf life thrown away when the kitchen closes for the night. This can be avoided with charitable donations.