food waste

Nearly a third of shoppers say they waste more food over the festive period, partly because many buy more than they need, research commissioned by Waitrose has found.

According to a poll of 2,000 UK adults by OnePoll, commissioned by Waitrose, 31% of shoppers said they wasted more food than usual during the Christmas period.

The excess waste is caused in part by a misunderstanding over how much food shoppers believe they will need. Some 61% of respondents said they overbought food to make sure they didn’t run out. Ultimately, 16% said they found it hard to judge how much they needed.

“Getting ready for the big day can be a stressful and exciting time, especially now we’re able to host family and friends once again after the pandemic,” said Zoe Simons, senior brand development chef at Waitrose. “But both of these factors can cause people to buy much more food at Christmas than they actually need – and inevitably, a proportion of this unfortunately finds its way into the bin.”

The supermarket found that 13% of food purchased over Christmas was wasted. 

However, despite 27% of respondents admitting that food waste is a problem within their household, awareness of the issue is growing among consumers.

More than half (54%) believe food waste is a major issue for society to tackle, according to the poll. Forty-eight per cent said that their awareness of the problem had increased over the past five years.

The poll was commissioned as part of Waitrose’s aims to help halve the UK’s household food waste by 2030, as part of a ’roadmap’ designed by waste reduction charity Wrap, to which the supermarket commited in 2018. 

In September, the grocer removed best before dates from a range of 500 fresh products, including grapes, root vegetables and household plants, in a bid to encourage customers to use their own judgement when it comes to food waste.