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Consumers urged to use their loaf and save billions

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Consumers urged to use their loaf and save billions

The ground-breaking report into UK food waste also reveals that since 2007 we have cut avoidable household food waste by an impressive 21%, which saved cash strapped consumers almost £13 billion. Yet we still throw away a staggering 4.2 million tonnes of household food, which could have been eaten. Almost half of this food goes straight from our fridges or cupboards to the bin and doesn’t even make it onto our dinner plates.
WRAP has also carried out work which shows it could be possible to reduce avoidable household food waste by a further 1.7 million tonnes a year by 2025. Given the financial and environmental benefits of such a reduction to the UK, WRAP’s CEO, Dr Liz Goodwin will today call for a "major combined effort" with retailers, brands, governments and consumers to work together towards a common goal. This could result in the UK halving avoidable food waste by 2025 compared to when we started work on this in 2007, thereby saving consumers and Local Authorities billions of pounds.
The top three foods that Britons are throwing away uneaten include every day essentials: bread, potatoes and milk. The equivalent of a staggering 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted daily. Chicken also made the top ten with the equivalent of 86 million chickens thrown away each year, despite being the nation’s favourite meat. Sweet treats like cake make the list too.
Buying more than we need, lack of clarity around storage and labelling and over-estimating portions are just some of the reasons for the waste, reveals WRAP’s pioneering report into the actual waste we generate - Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012 - published today.
The report updates WRAP's 2007 ground-breaking report The Food We Waste which exposed the full scale of the food waste problem for the first time. Detailing what foods are wasted most, how much food is wasted in UK homes, why and how we waste it and how much that waste costs.
But it's not all doom and gloom; the UK has made great progress. The total amount of household food and drink waste has reduced by 1.3Mt to 7Mt since 2007 and avoidable food and drink waste has reduced by 1.1Mt from 5.3Mt to 4.2Mt. However, the rate of reduction has slowed in recent years. The 21% reduction in avoidable food waste is down to millions of consumers doing things differently in the home such as buying the right amounts, storing and freezing foods to keep them fresher for longer and making more use of leftovers.
This has been supported by a number of factors including local authority initiatives and changes to packaging, including clearer date labels by retailers and brands. Consumers are also more aware of how to store and use their food more effectively with advice from Love Food Hate Waste which provides simple yet effective advice, tips and recipes, celebrity chefs, and other consumer campaigns. The increase in food prices has also had an impact.
By reducing avoidable food waste by over a fifth, UK householders have saved billions every year with £3.3 billion in 2012 alone, wasting less of their fruit, and home-made and pre-prepared meals than they were before for example. Many of the households WRAP interviewed earlier this year also stated they were making better use of their leftovers than they used to.
Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP Chief Executive Officer, said: "Consumers are seriously worried about the cost of food and how it has increased over recent years. Yet as WRAP’s research shows, we are still wasting millions of tonnes and billions of pounds.
"The UK is leading the way in tackling food waste and the 21% cut is a terrific achievement by millions of people who have taken action, saved money and helped safeguard our natural resources. However, there is so much more to go for and I believe we should be going for it.
"Research by WRAP shows that if we all make a major combined effort to act now, we can save up to £45 billion, by 2025. It won't be easy but what a prize if we achieve it. I commit that food waste will remain a top priority for WRAP and we will be pleased to work with those who share my aspiration."

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