Helping consumers reduce food waste - a retail survey 2009

August 2010

A survey across UK retailers, and a selection of food products, of a range of factors believed to influence household food waste.

WRAP's research estimates that 8.3 million tonnes per year of food and drink waste is generated by households in the UK, most of which (5.3 million tonnes) is avoidable.  Consumer research has suggested that consumers' knowledge and understanding about how to store and use their food and the size of packs available, for example, can contribute to food waste.

This research represents the first quantitative assessment of the type and consistency of information and packaging functionality available to consumers.  Approximately 10,000 separate products from 19 product categories were reviewed.  The data collected constitutes an important resource for WRAP and the food industry to identify good practice that could be implemented more widely, and to identify areas where inconsistency or lack of clarity could be addressed to improve consumer understanding and confidence, thereby reducing food waste.

November 2011 Update

WRAP announced a reduction in total household food and drink waste of 1.1 million tonnes in November 2011.  Avoidable food and drink waste reduced by 950,000 tonnes, and the associated value and environmental impact figures have been updated.  Research to update our estimates for individual food and drink categories has not yet been carried out, and therefore all figures relating to the breakdown of avoidable food waste should be regarded as approximate.  These remain however the best estimates currently available.

Note: All figures are approximate.