Solutions to prevent household food waste

Food is a valuable resource and yet UK households throw away 7.1 million tonnes every year, around 18% by weight of that purchased. Around 5.0 million tonnes of this could have been eaten, including around 13 billion ‘5 a day’ portions.

Preventing this food waste could save the average family £800 a year and deliver significant environmental benefits in terms of landfill avoidance and mitigating climate change. Consumers have an inherent dislike of wasting good food and want help to waste less and realise these financial savings.

Over the last four years WRAP has built up a comprehensive evidence base which has raised awareness of the issue.  We have developed a strong case for change, and given focus to the areas where consumers need the most help, where business and local authorities can benefit, and where the biggest impacts can be made.

Supporting the retail supply chain

Food is wasted for a number of inter-related reasons, which vary depending on household characteristics. These include a lack of planning, buying more than is needed, not storing food to keep it at its best, confusion around date labelling and what food can be frozen, incorrect portioning and a lack of confidence around leftovers.

WRAP works with the grocery industry to make changes to the retail environment that will make it easier for consumers to:

  • buy the right amounts of food and drink, e.g. offering a range of pack sizes;
  • keep what they buy at its best, e.g. giving clear storage and freezing guidance; and
  • get the most out of what they buy, e.g. using consistent, clear date marks.

Raising consumer awareness

In 2007 WRAP launched Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) which helps UK households tackle food waste. LFHW works with retailers and brands, local authorities, businesses, community and campaign groups to help promote the LFHW message by providing resources such as well-researched tips, recipes, messages, creatives and consumer insights.