Families’ food waste soars as lockdown ends after a massive 43% drop at the height of the pandemic
- Food waste fell by as much as 43 per cent at the height of Covid restrictions
- However, it shot back up to pre-pandemic levels as the economy reopened
- Rise due to more people eating at restaurants and the return of busy lifestyles
Household food waste rocketed after lockdown ended as families slipped back into bad habits, a major new survey has revealed.
Waste fell by as much as 43 per cent at the height of Covid restrictions as families spent more time in the kitchen planning and cooking meals.
However, it shot back up to pre-pandemic levels as the economy reopened this summer, according to the campaign Love Food Hate Waste.
The Mail on Sunday’s War on Food Waste campaign is calling on every household to cut their food waste by 30 per cent to help protect the environment
Its report, which will be published tomorrow, put the sudden rise down to more people eating out at restaurants and the return of busy lifestyles, which make it harder for people to plan meals that use up all the food in their fridges.
The survey of 4,172 people was carried out in late June, several weeks before the July 19 ‘Freedom Day’ in England, which is expected to have pushed food waste even higher.
The Mail on Sunday’s War on Food Waste campaign is calling on every household to cut their food waste by 30 per cent to help protect the environment and boost family budgets.
This would leave an extra £160 in the average household’s bank account and have the same impact on cutting carbon emissions as taking two million cars off the road. Last night experts said the initial fall showed families could hit our target.
Helen White, special adviser to Love Food Hate Waste, which is part of the Waste & Resources Action Programme charity, said: ‘People don’t need to make drastic changes to their lifestyles.
‘In that early pandemic period people were looking in the freezers and cupboards because they didn’t want food to go to waste.’
Its report, which will be published tomorrow, put the sudden rise down to more people eating out at restaurants and the return of busy lifestyles
Love Food Hate Waste’s survey found that in the first national lockdown last year, households adopted more than six good habits that reduced waste, such as cooking in batches.
As a result, the amount of bread, chicken, milk and potatoes being thrown away fell from 24.1 per cent in November 2019 to 13.7 per cent in April last year – a decrease of 43 per cent. By June this year, waste across those four products had risen back to 19.7 per cent.
The proportion of people who admitted to being ‘high food wasters’ rose from two in ten in April last year to three in ten this June.
Around half of 18- to 34-year-olds and half of families with children under ten classified themselves as high food wasters.
On average, respondents said they had more than seven meals out or takeaways in the past month, up from six in September last year. Ms White said eating out regularly tends to mean more food from people’s fridges ends up in the bin.
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