Tesco is urging consumers to cut down food waste, after a trial showed households could save almost £900 a year by bringing in simple changes to their consumption.
The supermarket giant, in collaboration with environment charity Hubbub, ran a six-week trial with more than 50 households to try to get them to reduce waste, with the latest figures from Wrap showing consumers waste 6.6 million tonnes of food per year.
The retailer provided the families in the trial, which ran from August until September, with information on effective meal planning, storing food properly and cooking classes from Tesco chefs.
The results of the trial showed almost two-thirds (62%) reported cutting their weekly food bills, with an average saving of £16.50 per household per week, equivalent to £858 over 12 months.
Tesco revealed 90% of households in the trials used all the food they bought each week, with 88% changing their storage techniques to make food last longer and nearly 70% making more use of their freezers.
The results showed the trial households could save on average more than 76kg of food going to waste per year.
Tesco is now planning to make the advice and information used in the trial available to all with a dedicated food waste hub, TescoFoodWasteChallenge.co.uk.
The trial comes with the Covid pandemic having shone a new spotlight on food waste.
A survey of more than 2,000 UK adults undertaken by Tesco in August found more than a third (35%) of people said they had reduced their food waste during lockdown and 75% of that group had kept their new habits after the initial lockdown was eased.
“Building on our commitments to reduce food waste in our operations and supply chain, we want to engage households to do the same, by providing them with inspiration and tips to cut food waste at home,” said Kené Umeasiegbu, campaigns director at Tesco.
“The practical ideas from this pilot can lead to long-lasting changes in household habits, helping them to use all the food they buy. Tesco research found that the national Covid-19 lockdown drove a significant shift in the nation’s attitudes towards food, with 59% of us wanting to do more to cut food waste at home.”
Aoife Allen, head of food at Hubbub, added: “We know that food waste is a stubborn problem for many households so it’s really promising to see these results. The group embraced meal planning and batch cooking, along with using up leftovers and freezing a wider range of foods with confidence.
“Many families reported that their little ones are now leading the charge on waste at home. And when we asked one month on whether they were keeping up their habits, 94% said that they were wasting less food than before the pilot, with eating leftovers as the top habit they’d taken forward.”