Helping consumers reduce food waste - a retail survey 2011

June 2012

In 2009, WRAP undertook a survey across UK retailers, and a selection of food products, of a range of factors believed to influence household food waste.

To provide an updated picture, and gauge progress against the recommendations in the 2009 report, the work was repeated in 2011 and this report summarises the findings.

The WRAP Retailer Survey 2011 demonstrates that the food industry is making good progress towards making it easier for customers to get the best from the food they buy – and reduce the 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink that’s wasted every year.

The findings included:

  • There are more smaller packs of potatoes, milk, cooking sauces, bread and bread rolls available.
    Nearly half of all packs (47%) are now re-closable.
  • New labelling being rolled out by retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s, makes it clear consumers don’t have to freeze goods on the day of purchase, but can do so any time up to the ‘use by’ date.
  • The use of ‘display until’ dates has fallen dramatically with less than a third of surveyed products carrying this, and no ‘sell by’ dates were found on any of the products.

While the results suggest good progress, WRAP is continuing to work closely with the food industry through the Courtauld Commitment, trade associations, the Food Standards Agency and Governments, to provide clear recommendations, and the evidence they need to implement further changes.