Families throw away £680 of food a year

Families throw away £680 of food a year

The average family throws away £680 of uneaten food every year, according to new research.

A poll of 2,116 adults carried out for Bird's Eye found that the average family spends £68 a week on food, but that 91 per cent of households with children admitted to throwing some of it away.

And although families estimate wasting around £270 - or £5.20 a week - on unused food which ends up in the bin, the actual cost is likely more than double this amount, researchers say.

According to research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap), the average amount of household food waste costs an average family with children £680 a year, or £13 a week.

Vegetables topped the list of the most commonly wasted food group, with 50 per cent of households with children regularly binning their uneaten or unused greens, closely followed by fruit (45%) and bread (42%).

Some 37 per cent of those surveyed said that buying too much food was the main cause of food waste, while 22 per cent said it was because of supermarket offers including "Buy One get One Free" deals.

Lack of meal planning prior to shopping was another issue, as one in three people admitted to not planning ahead.

However, families with children at home proved more savvy, as 37 per cent said they plan more now than before because of the economic downturn in an effort to save money and avoid food waste.

The survey also found that a lot of Britons (nearly 70 per cent) have changed their eating habits as a result of the downturn – 47 per cent of families now eat out less, 24 per cent have changed what they eat at mealtimes, for example by buying cheaper food, and 26 per cent try to all eat the same food at mealtimes to keep costs down.

The findings come as a new report by the Fabian Society and Birds Eye, which looks at consumer attitudes to food waste, is discussed today in parliament.

Waste Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: "Wasting perfectly good food is bad for household budgets and bad for the environment, which is why we are taking action to help people cut down on what they throw away.

"Through Wrap's Love Food Hate Waste campaign we are helping households to waste less and save money, while our new guidance on food date labelling has cleared up confusion about when food is safe to eat."