Reducing household bakery waste

March 2011

Bakery is the 4th largest category of household food waste in the UK.  This research has generated insights and recommendations that can help consumers to reduce bakery waste.

7.2 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted in the UK each year, of which nearly 800,000 tonnes is bakery waste.  Of this, the majority is ‘avoidable’ waste (680,000 tonnes per year) which costs £1.1 billion.

This project comprised two elements.

Firstly, extensive consumer research to investigate consumers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviour around buying, storing, using and throwing away bakery items.

Subsequently, a trained panel assessment, combined with a consumer product test, sought to identify:

whether the sensory properties of mainstream, sliced bread over its shelf-life have a relationship with respondents’ bread disposal patterns, and

stated reasons for throwing bread away.

Insights from this research, and from assessing changes to the sensory properties of bread over time, have been used to develop recommendations to help consumers reduce bakery waste.

November 2013 Update

WRAP published new estimates on how much food and drink is disposed annually from UK households in November 2013.  The breakdown of avoidable food and drink waste has been updated along with the associated value and environmental impact figures. Go to: