Families waste huge sums of money on food they don’t eat

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle

More than 90 per cent of families admit to wasting food. But most don’t realise that this waste is costing them hundreds of pounds more than they’ve budgeted, according to a new survey.

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When asked to estimate the cost of food wasted over a year, the average amount was £270. Actually, it’s thought that the average family with children wastes more like £680 each year. And despite tightening our belts during the recession, we’re still spending more than we need to by failing to eat all of the foods we buy.

The most wasted food group is fresh vegetables, followed by fruit and bread. The reasons given by respondents for this waste range from simply buying more than they need (37 per cent), to a lack of meal planning (33 per cent) and getting sucked in to supermarket deals and offers (22 per cent).

Not only is this waste costing us money, it also makes us feel guilty. Nearly half of those polled admitted they felt bad for wasting food, especially during times of economic hardship.

Frozen food company Birds Eye, which conducted the survey, unsurprisingly recommends consumers make more use of their freezers. But this doesn’t have to be with ready meals and fish fingers. Though many families happily keep frozen meat and vegetables, the survey revealed many don’t realise that herbs, milk and fish can all be frozen without losing their quality.

[ Related article: Can giving up the supermarket shop save me money?]

Apprentice runner up Saira Kahn has got involved to help cut down on our waste and guilt by reminding families of a few key money-saving tips when it comes to food shopping. These include resisting ‘buy one get one free’ deals if you won’t end up eating all the food, and getting a balance between fresh and freezer foods. She also highlights the importance of planning weekly meals before you shop, to ensure you don’t overbuy.

How much food do you waste?