What a waste! Over-shopping Brits bin a shocking £15 billion worth of food every year

As eager over-shoppers across the UK chuck out food worth over £500 each year, it could be time for us to make friends with our freezer

How guilty are you of wasting food? Do you eagerly over-shop at the supermarket, cook just a bit too much more than you need, or get in a tizz about expiry dates.

If you can sheepishly admit to any of these, then you could be contributing to the estimated £15.1 billion worth of food waste in the UK each year, according to a new study from Samsung Digital Appliances, which is supported by the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

The independent survey of 2,000 people reveals that we are a nation of over-shoppers, as the average household estimates that they throw away around 7% of food each week – the equivalent of £572 a year.

With three-quarters of us getting in a main shop once a week, and 83% of us topping up with fresh food in between, we’re just buying too much.

Ready meals and convenience food are the first to be tossed in the bin, while other frequently thrown foods include fresh and pre-cooked meat, milk and juices, homemade meals, cheese and yoghurt.

Almost half (46%) admitted they cooked too much food, then threw it away.

One of the reasons we could be throwing out too much is because we’re flummoxed by our fridge-freezers and food use-by dates.

While the freezer is a great way to avoid food waste, the research showed that many people don’t realise this – for example, did you know that you could freeze eggs, wine, cheese and biscuits?

And confusion over use-by and best-before dates was another reason for food waste. Almost half (45%) said that they get rid of food based on its best-before dates – even though foods outside these dates can still be safe to eat if they’ve been stored properly.

So, who is the most wasteful of them all? The survey revealed that people in the West Midlands are the most wasteful – with the average household estimating they throw out a huge £731.64 of food each year – almost 30% more than the national average.

London is not far behind, with £659.36 a year being thrown out, closely followed by the north-east at £632.84 a year.

‘Food wastage is a huge issue in the UK,’ says Lana Sanleandro, Head of Marketing, Home Appliances at Samsung UK. ‘But it’s also something that everyone can do something about – through better management of the weekly shop, more preparation when making meals and simply learning about the best conditions for storing different types of food.

‘We’ve teamed up with Love Food Hate Waste to address the UK’s food wastage problem, as our refrigeration range includes features that help to reduce food waste through optimal storage and humidity control.’

So if you can identify with any of these crimes against food, it could be time to make friends with your freezer.

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