Safety concerns lead to food waste

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Research into food waste habits found that almost a quarter of consumers in Yorkshire are unsure about when food is still safe to eat.

More than one-fifth of consumers in the region also said they prepare or cook too much food, which then gets thrown away.

The research was undertaken as part of food and training charity IGD’s new ‘Working on Waste’ campaign, which aims to help companies educate their employees on how to minimise food waste at home.

Employees will be offered advice on portion planning, making the most of leftover food, utilising their freezer, education on best before and use-by dates and the myth that food can go off before its use by date.

The research also found that 26 per cent of consumers in Yorkshire waste food because products go past their use-by date before they get around to eating them.

And 32 per cent of consumers say they keep leftover food, but it often goes to waste when they don’t eat it in time.

Working on Waste aims to bring together food and grocery companies throughout October in a co-ordinated bid to talk directly to their employees as consumers to reduce household food waste.

As part of the campaign, Asda - one of the participating companies - hosted a roadshow in Leeds yesterday, offering a unique opportunity for companies to discuss issues surrounding household food waste. As well as Asda, employes from companies including Arla Foods, Cargill Meats Europe, Central England Co-operative, Cranswick, Leeds University, Warburtons, and Young’s Seafood attended to the roadshow.

It was one of nine roadshows taking place across the country during October and form a fundamental part of the Working on Waste campaign, in collaboration with WRAP.

Asda are taking part in a number of events to help support the road show including a competition on its internal website, smoothie demonstration and tasting at Asda’s head office in Leeds – Asda House - and a pledge tree where colleagues will be able to make their own personal or professional commitment to helping reduce food waste.

The IGD’s campaign aims to reach around 650,000 employees working in the industry during the month of October.

It includes over 12,000 employees getting involved in a ‘Leftover Lunch Day’ and 280,000 taking part in a leftovers recipe challenge.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD said: “A lot of progress has been made already by companies across the industry to help consumers reduce household food waste.

“However, seven million tonnes of food and drink is still being thrown away by UK homes every year, costing consumers £12.5bn – so there’s more work to be done.

“Pivotal to this campaign is inviting companies from across the supply chain to come together under the same roof at our roundtable roadshows to explore all the ways in which the industry can work together in this area.

“I’m thrilled that companies of all sizes are supporting this campaign, demonstrating how serious they are about tackling food waste in homes.

“Through this scale, collaboration and power of our industry, we have the potential to make a substantial impact collectively in reducing household food waste in the UK.”

Chris Brown, sustainable business director at Asda said: “We’re really proud to be supporting this great campaign and to be hosting a round table event. Customers have told us they want us to help them to reduce food waste at home and we’ve been working hard through our Fareshare programme or Sustain and Save exchange to do our bit to reduce food waste.

“It is however important as an industry we recognise this isn’t some we can do alone.

“This is an area that needs clear collaboration between supermarkets, suppliers and manufacturers – which is why taking part in IGD’s Working on Waste initiative with the whole industry is really important.”

As well as Leeds, roadshows are also set to take part in cities including Hull, Worksop and Manchester.

Top 10 reasons why Yorkshire shoppers waste food:

Food goes off before its use by date;

Leftovers not eaten;

Past use-by date;

Not sure whether it is safe;

Cook too much food, that then gets thrown out;

People leave things they don’t like (e.g. the children are fussy);

Past best-before date;

Discarded during preparation;

Plans change;

Mistakes or accidents.