UK households throw away six meals a week

The average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, wasting £60 a month, according to research from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The £12.5 billion worth of food thrown away each year equates to 4.2 million tonnes of household food that could have been eaten.

The top three foods that Britons throw away uneaten are bread, potatoes and milk: with 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk wasted daily across the country. WRAP added that 86 million chickens are thrown away each year.

The organisation said that buying more than we need, a lack of clarity around how to properly store food, mis-understanding labeling, and over-estimating portions are some of the key reasons for food waste.


Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP chief executive, said: "Consumers are seriously worried about the cost of food and how it has increased over recent years. Yet as WRAP's research shows, we are still wasting millions of tonnes and billions of pounds."

But since 2007, WRAP said Britons have cut avoidable household food waste by over a fifth (21%), which has saved consumers almost £13 billion. But Goodwin says we can do more: "The UK is leading the way in tackling food waste and the 21% cut is a terrific achievement by millions of people who have taken action, saved money and helped safeguard our natural resources. However, there is so much more to go for and I believe we should be going for it.

"Research by WRAP shows that if we all make a major combined effort to act now, we can save up to £45 billion by 2025. It won't be easy, but what a prize if we achieve it."

The 21% reduction has been achieved thanks to a greater number of consumers buying the right amounts, storing and freezing foods to keep them fresher for longer and making more use of leftovers.

Dan Rogerson, MP Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Resource Management at Defra, said: "Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste and we want to see businesses helping consumers to waste less food. Cutting waste and driving business innovation will help to build a stronger economy. We will continue to work closely with food retailers and manufacturers to achieve this goal."