Up to 25 per cent of people throw away food ahead of its best before date without even checking, according to new research commissioned by supermarket group Sainsbury’s.
Sampling over 2,000 people, the grocer conducted research to better understand consumer shopping and food waste habits as it looks to reduce the amount of food waste created in the UK.
As well as ‘Food Phobics’ who throw away food ahead of its best before date, the survey found that many shoppers, named ‘Hungry Hoarders’, stock up on goods impulsively despite having no time to eat them.
Others, dubbed ‘Ditzy Diarists’ by the grocer, go shopping forgetting that they are out for most of the week. Combined, these account for 20 per cent of those questioned.
Jack Cunningham, who works in environmental sustainability for the chain, adds that some consumers are taking positive steps to reduce waste.
‘Freezer Geezers’ regularly stock their freezers to store leftovers while ‘Conscientious Consumers’ use leftovers to create new dishes. These groups combined account for 44 per cent of the sample.
Cunningham pointed out that Sainsbury’s has been partnering with Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) for several years and that it works closely with charities such as Fareshare to distribute food waste.
WRAP has aided the retailer in providing staff training aimed at informing shoppers of the need to reduce waste and offering advice on how to keep food fresh.
Cunningham offered tips to customers, who it is felt will benefit from reducing waste during economically tough times.
“Remember to check the fridge daily (not just to get the milk out!) and look at dates and what needs using up – use this information in your meal planning,” he advised.
Keeping your fridge below 5°C is necessary to ensure that food remains fresh.
“Get others involved in menu planning – this ensures there’s something for everyone,” Cunningham added.