Insights around the domestic refrigerator

August 2010

An extensive study of consumer refrigerated food practices in the home, and experimental measurements of refrigerated food temperatures during their transit from the retail store to the domestic fridge.

One of the largest contributions to the 5.3 million tonnes of avoidable household food and drink waste thrown away each year is from products that require or benefit from refrigerated storage, including fresh/raw meat and fish, ready meals, dairy products, fruit and vegetables and pre-prepared foods.

This project has surveyed the consumer handling of refrigerated foods, in particular the effects on temperature of transporting the refrigerated food from the supermarket to the home and storage in the domestic fridge.  A key part of the work was an extensive survey of refrigerated food practices in the home, the results of which provide an insight into consumer food purchasing, food storage, fridge ownership and management of food items. The study has generated a number of key observations regarding the consumer use of fridges and a series of recommendations across the supply chain that could be explored to help consumers keep what they buy at its best and prevent food waste.