Household Food & Drink Waste – A People Focus

This report explores the relationship between the level of avoidable food and drink waste from households in the UK and factors including socio-demographics, behaviours and others relating to food, such as healthy eating and time available for food-related activities.

Key findings

  • The generation of food waste is complex – the factors that contribute to it are varied and differ between households.
  • There are differences between the average levels of food waste between socio-demographic groups: generally, older households and those households where the main earner is retired generate less waste.
  • On average, larger households generate less waste per person than single-occupancy households – this difference stems from single-occupancy households generating more waste from not using food before it goes off or past a date label (rather than, for example, generating more leftovers).
  • Lower levels of waste are associated with various food-related behaviours including meal planning, list making, buying less of other items when purchasing special offers, use of the fridge to store apples, cooking the right amount of rice and pasta and using leftovers.
  • Contextual factors also correlate with levels of food waste. In particular, those with more time available for food-related activities generate the least waste.

These insights will help WRAP and its partners develop more effective ways to help people waste less food. The report shows that – due to the complexity of waste generation – messages, engagement and changes in products, packaging and labelling need to be developed with the specific needs of different groups in mind.