‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry and after the hellish year of 2020, many will be determined to enjoy this festive period despite the latest set of strict coronavirus restrictions.
However, online surplus food and drink retailer Approved Food, who recently launched its ground-breaking Don’t Get Wasted 2020 campaign to raise awareness of the shocking amount of food needlessly thrown away over the festive season, is challenging Brits to reduce their waste this year.
In areas where pubs and restaurants have been forced to closed, more people than ever will be buying and cooking their Christmas lunch. And with many of us stuffing more food into our baskets than usual at this time of year, it might not be surprising to hear that food waste increases every festive period. Alarmingly the amount thrown away is higher than you would expect.
Each year in the UK, five million Christmas puddings, two million turkeys and 74 million mince pies go to waste – not to mention huge quantities of vegetables, fruit, and snacks.
Not only that, the latest unemployment figures make depressing reading and with more people than ever watching the pennies, it seems thoughtless to buy food and then needlessly throw it away.
To support the Don’t Get Wasted 2020 campaign Approved Food challenged their shoppers to test their food waste knowledge with surprising results. They found that savvy shoppers who used the surplus food and drink retailer were already knowledgeable – with 100% of entrants correctly answering questions about food waste.
Approved Food MD Andy Needham said: “We launched the Don’t Get Wasted 2020 campaign and quiz to educate and challenge people’s views around waste. However, we found that if shoppers were savvy enough to buy from us, they are also savvy enough to know about their own food waste.
“Despite some shoppers being in the know about food waste, many are still in the dark. Which is why we wanted to share our top tips to help educate people on how to reduce waste this festive season.”
Approved Food’s top five tips on reducing food waste this festive season are:
- Tidy your cupboards and freezer before you do your Christmas shop, have a good tidy up of your cupboards and freezer. You might be surprised at what you have hidden in your cupboards and it will also stop you from buying unnecessary items.
- Freeze leftovers. With your newly tidied freezer, you might have some spare room in your drawers to freeze items that can be used at a later date rather than being thrown in the bin!
- Do not be fooled by BOGOF, it might be tempting to get sucked into supermarket offers. However, just buy what you need rather than being pulled in by offers. They are usually a reason for you to spend more money and buy more food you do not need.
- Know your dates. It is surprising how many people still do not know the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. The Rule of Thumb is, food that has passed its best before date is safe to eat, but the flavour and texture may change over time. Use your common sense to assess it. Food that has passed its use-by date is not safe to eat.
- Don’t always buy fresh. As tempting as it may be to buy everything fresh for Christmas, just consider whether you will use it all before it goes off. Use common sense when shopping and consider buying frozen or tinned items instead of fresh.
Statistics showed that the older generation is more aware of food waste than millennials. A total of 81% of respondents in the 55 and over age group agreed that over the past year, they had worked hard to reduce the amount of food they wasted.
And it’s not just the environment that suffers when food is needlessly thrown away. The latest unemployment figures make depressing reading and with more people than ever watching the pennies, it seems wasteful to buy food then needlessly throw it away.
Andy added: “2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for so many, with the UK’s biggest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, predicting that destitution rates will double this year due to the pandemic. We must all be mindful of our food usage and the waste we create.
“At Christmas, food waste increases to ridiculous levels, when it doesn’t need to. Which is why we wanted to share our top tips to educate people on how to reduce their food waste and also be mindful of those who will need additional support this Christmas.”
 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1129578/avoidance-of-food-waste-by-age-group-uk/22nd December 2020