New data reveals that Bristol, Norwich and Manchester are amongst some of the best cities leading the change in effectively addressing food waste. Whereas areas such as London, Southampton, Birmingham and Liverpool need to do more to tackle this issue. With this in mind, food experts share their top tips for reducing waste at home.
Food waste is a pressing issue globally, with a staggering 2.5 billion tonnes, equivalent to over a third of all food produced, being wasted annually.
The growing concern regarding climate change has led to an increase in the number of individuals taking action to solve it. Online searches for ‘food waste’ and ‘food waste bin’ have generated an average of 6,600 and 4,440 searches per month, over the past two years.
Inspired by these searches, data analysts at meal box delivery company, HelloFresh, delved deeper into these figures to reveal which region in the UK is the most food waste conscious.
HelloFresh examined the online queries relating to “food waste” and its associated phrases like “food waste bin” and “food cycler” over the past year, and then integrated this information with population estimates to calculate the total number of searches per 10,000 people in each region.
According to the study, Bristol had the highest number of searches related to food waste among all regions in the UK, with approximately 241 searches over the year. In contrast, Birmingham with only 76 and Liverpool with 73, had the lowest number of searches.
Regional food waste for March 2022–March 2023
Food waste searches (per 10K of the population)
Experts at HelloFresh have shared their most effective tips for reducing food waste at home and making use of leftovers, in the hopes that these statistics will inspire individuals to take action on this issue.
Planning your meals in advance and just purchasing the ingredients you actually need is a great way to start. This way, there is minimal surplus food and waste. Using leftovers for sauces, curries, smoothies, salads and pastas is also a wonderful way to reduce your food waste, should you have anything left after a meal. For example, you could spice up leftover cottage pie with a spoonful of curry paste and use it to stuff pastries.
Make sure to store your food in optimum conditions for prolonged shelf life, taking light levels, temperature and oxygen into account.
It’s important to understand food labelling – ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ are very different things. Use-by dates are the dates by which the food must be consumed, whereas best-before dates are simply suggestions of the times when the product is at its best.
Why not try growing your own fruit and vegetables at home? Even if you don’t have any outside space available, a windowsill with access to light is all you need to grow indoors. Then, you can plan your meals around what’s in season and pick only the ingredients you need for each meal.
Batch cooking and freezing meals, not only reduces waste but saves you time in the future. If you’re pushed for time one evening after work or need a speedy lunch, defrost a batch you’ve cooked on a previous day and enjoy! Or perhaps share some of your food with a neighbour, friend or family member. For example, if you live alone but you’ve made a full cake, why not ask your neighbours if they’d like a slice? Suddenly you’ve reduced your food waste and you’re the most popular person on your street!