Householders reduced their food waste by 76% in a recent trial in which they took steps such as making better use of leftovers and using their freezers more.
Two-thirds of the participants said they slashed their weekly food bill by an average of £16.50 per week – equivalent to £858 over a year. The findings from the six-week experiment mean that each of the households could stop more than 76kg of food ending up in the bin if they continued their new habits for a year.
The trial was organised by Tesco in conjunction with the environmental charity Hubbub. During the challenge, 53 households logged their food waste and followed tips on more effective meal planning, food storage and cooking classes from the supermarket’s chefs.
“We know that food waste is a stubborn problem for many households so it’s really promising to see these results” said Aoife Allen, the head of food at Hubbub. “The group embraced meal planning and batch cooking, along with using up leftovers and freezing a wider range of foods.
And when we asked one month on whether they were keeping up their habits, 94% said that they were wasting less food than before the pilot, with eating leftovers as the top habit they’d taken forward.”
The bigger scheme aims to slash the 6.6m-tonne mountain of food thrown away by UK households every year. On top of its negative environmental impact, food waste typically costs a family of four about £60 a month. The UK has signed up to a global sustainable target of halving food waste by 2030.
In other highlights, 90% of households said they had used all the food they bought each week, while 88% had improved their storage techniques to make their food last longer.
Supermarkets have been criticised for wasting food in their supply chains that could be diverted to food banks. In 2018 Sainsbury’s abandoned a £10m scheme to halve food waste after a year-long trial in a Derbyshire town produced disappointing results.