Helping Consumers reduce fruit and veg waste report

11th June 2009

A research project examining consumer attitudes and behaviour around storage of fresh fruit and vegetables in the home. 

The objectives of the project:
Gain information from consumers on how they currently manage the storage of fresh fruit and vegetables in the home, on the types of products that are commonly wasted and the reason for rejection
Develop and test simple methods to prolong the freshness of fruit and vegetables in the home
Review the advice given by the major retailers to consumers about storage of fresh fruit and vegetables and suggest improvements
Assemble an easy to understand scale of relative perishability for different types of fruit and vegetables, to aid the consumer with best storage practice

Recommendations made as to how consumers and retailers can help to reduce the amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables thrown away in the home are based on a survey of current storage advice given, and an experimental research programme.

Previous research by WRAP has revealed that 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away by UK consumers each year. Most of this could have been eaten, and 40% (by weight) of this avoidable food waste is made up of fruit and vegetables, worth almost £3 billion. Almost 90% of this fruit and vegetable waste consists of fresh produce, about 1.4 million tonnes, and most is thrown away as a result of not being used in time (going off or going past the food date - ‘best before’, ‘display until’ etc.).