get food waste under control
With UK households wasting an average of eight meals a week (87,000 tonnes of food waste across all households in seven days), TV presenter Gregg Wallace is taking part in Food Waste Action Week to help households get on top of food waste and spread the word spread Food waste feeds climate change.
To kick off the week, Love Food Hate Waste will unveil a shocking new installation showing the extent of food waste by a single UK household over a year in the form of a 10ft food waste planet.
A new survey has revealed that UK freezers contain UFOs (unidentified frozen objects), with over a third of people admitting their freezer is sometimes a total disaster and finding out what’s inside is extremely difficult. 19 percent of people have thrown out something frozen in the last two weeks because it has been sitting for too long.
The Food Waste Action Week is going global, with weeks taking place simultaneously in Canada, the US, South Africa, Australia and Mauritius.
The second annual Food Waste Action Week begins today, Monday 7th March, with TV presenter Gregg Wallace raising people’s awareness of the huge impact of household food waste on climate change, providing practical advice, dietary behaviors and tips on how we can all easily reduce the food we waste in our homes.
Particular attention is paid to the UFOs that get stuck in our freezer and never find their way onto our plates.
With only around one in three people in the UK seeing a clear link between food waste and climate change, Gregg has worked with Love Food Hate Waste – the brand behind Action Week – to create a powerful installation that uses food waste to show the scale of the problem.
The installation brings to life the campaign’s hard-hitting creatives to convey the fact that food wasted in our own homes is directly fueling climate change. The campaign will run across social media channels in the UK and globally.
Gregg Wallace, TV presenter, said: “Nobody hates seeing good food go to waste more than I do, and often it’s simple changes in the way we store food that make the biggest difference.
“That’s why I’m excited to support this year’s Food Waste Action Week and Love Food Hate Waste.”
Gregg added: “The fact is that we are all responsible for the vast majority of food waste in the UK – 70 per cent – so we really need to be part of the solution for the betterment of the planet.
And with rising food prices and other disposable income pressures, the savings you can make to the family budget by reducing food waste is significant.”
In the UK, we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste every year. This food waste is responsible for nearly 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 5.4 per cent of the UK’s territorial emissions.
The bulk, 4.5 million tonnes, is food that could have been eaten and is worth around £14 billion (or £60 a month for an average family with two children). It takes an area almost the size of Wales to produce all the food and drink that is currently wasted in the UK.
Love Food Hate Waste conducts an annual survey of people’s habits and knowledge of food waste.
This revealed that 81 per cent of UK citizens are concerned about climate change, but only 32 per cent see a clear link to food waste.
The survey helped inform the theme of the week and the development of materials to motivate people to take action.
This year, Love Food Hate Waste found that the public’s relationship with its freezers has become particularly chilly, with 35 percent of the public saying their freezer “is a total disaster at times and [it’s] extremely difficult to figure out what’s in there.”
And 19 percent of people have thrown out something frozen in the last two weeks because it sat too long.
Even more worrying is that up to 69 percent of people believe it’s safe to defrost meat at “room temperature,” which is the polar opposite of Food Standards Agency guidelines and potentially puts them at risk of disease.
Sarah Clayton, Love Food Hate Waste, said: “Getting a handle on freezing and thawing is an important factor in preventing food from being wasted at home.”
She added: “At a time of rising food prices and great public concern about climate change, tackling food waste at home is one way we can all make a difference and save money.
“For an average family with children, the cost of food waste can be more than £700 a year. So Food Waste Action Week is all about avoiding these UFOs and being smart about how we store and then use our food.”
Use your freezer more
Love Food Hate Waste wants to show that when used correctly, the freezer is the king of the kitchen. In fact, freezing and thawing just three key meat products that aren’t typically used on time (fresh chicken, bacon, and sausages) could reduce waste from those products by as much as 15,000 tons per year.
And when it comes to defrosting, busy households can avoid a lengthy overnight defrost by using their microwave instead — just like people use a toaster oven to defrost sliced bread from the freezer.
More than 15 influencers, including chef Melissa Hemsley, are supporting Food Waste Action Week through their social channels, demonstrating key food behaviors that can help prevent food waste.
And the focus on food waste is extended to the hospitality and catering sector, with the Guardians of Grub campaign providing free resources and advice for out-of-home restaurants to focus on food waste throughout the week.
Love Food Hate Waste is also urging the public to share their own unidentified frozen items on social media, using the hashtag #FoodWasteActionWeek to highlight the importance of labeling the food we freeze.
Food Waste Action Week will direct people to information and resources on the Love Food Hate Waste website to address a range of common food waste issues.
And for the first time, the Food Waste Action Week is also working with partners around the world to turn it into an international action week.
Partners from 12 countries will support the campaign including Canada, USA, Australia, South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Mauritius, Indonesia, Jordan, Netherlands and New Zealand.
Love Food Hate Waste is also grateful for the support of some of the UK’s largest retailers and food brands who have made financial donations to help extend the week: including Aldi, Danone, Dunbia, KFC, IHG Hotels and Resorts, Ocado, OLIO and Sodexo.
Resources and Waste Secretary Jo Churchill said: “Throwing away good food is a terrible waste of resources, water and energy.
“The amount of food we waste each year weighs the equivalent of over a million Asian elephants. Almost 70 percent comes from our own homes and the impact on the environment is immense.
“The Food Waste Action Week is hugely important in bringing together the entire food supply chain, from farm to fork, to take action on this critical issue.
“There’s a lot we can do as consumers, and I encourage everyone to think of simple and creative ways that will help us meet our ambitious goal of halving food waste by 2030.”