The average family wastes £800 worth of edible food every year

Did you know the average British family gets rid of about £800[1] The value of edible food every year?

According to a national study by Tesco, three-quarters of households in the UK (77%)[2] They say they throw away unopened or unused food, half a million people do it every day.

But, while no one initiates the extravagance, busy lifestyles, lack of planning, and simple forgetfulness can lead to perfectly good food in the trash.

In addition to costing us money, this also harms the environment, as food waste in the UK produces the same amount of greenhouse gases as 10 million cars.

To help families fight waste and make their food and money go further, Tesco has teamed up with Hellmann’s to launch the “Use Up Day” campaign, which encourages the nation to cook one meal once a week using food already in their food. kitchen.

“We have the opportunity and the responsibility to help shoppers get more out of their food store,” says Catherine Crossland, Director of Shopper Marketing at Unilever UK & Ireland.

“Small changes in our behavior and simple interventions, such as sticking to one day a week using the rest of the ingredients and food, all add up.”

How can you participate?

Nobody sets out to be extravagant, but busy lifestyles, lack of planning, and simple forgetfulness can lead to eating perfectly fine food in the trash.

With just a small spoonful of inspiration and a little experience we can all turn leftovers into fast and delicious meals.

Getting started with your weekly use day is so easy, Tesco’s new food waste center provides a step-by-step guide to help you find your perfect use day.

TV presenter Connie Hogg has met a family who is trying to make their weekly shops go even further, save money and stop wasting edible food.

They tell Connie how they enjoy foraging together for leftover ingredients in the fridge, freezer, and cupboard, before using easy-to-follow recipes at Tesco’s Food Waste Center to whip up new and exciting meals.

Mark Breen, senior creative partner at environmental charity Hubbub, says the idea behind Day of Use is to see the remaining ingredients in a new light.

“A lot of the foods we throw out at home are perfectly fine to eat, but it can sometimes be hard to know what to do with the last few ingredients in the fridge that just don’t seem to go together.” He says.

With just a small spoonful of inspiration and a little ‘knowledge’, we can all turn leftovers into fast, delicious meals – saving money and doing our part for the environment at the same time.

When choosing the best day for the day to use, try to pick a day right before your main regular shopping trip, and when most of your family is usually home.

Shredded bread is the most wasted wardrobe item, while milk tops the list of fresh lost staples.

Shredded bread is the most wasted wardrobe item, while milk tops the list of fresh lost staples.

Sharing each week can save the average family £260[3] year and reduce food waste by a third, according to a recent study by Hellmann’s. Bringing the day of use can also lead to the adoption of other habits that reduce food waste, such as planning food stores, which means families can save more money.

Tessa Clark, co-founder and CEO of OLIO, explains the community sharing app, which makes it easy for people to share what they won’t need or use with others in their local community.

Tessa says initiatives like Use Day are not only an ethical imperative, but also an environmental imperative.

“If it was a country, food waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China,” she says. One kilogram of food waste generates the same amount of carbon emissions as it decomposes in landfill as 25,000ml 500ml plastic bottles.

“In our family, the best meals were a random bunch of leftovers you never thought would go together, and it’s satisfying knowing you did your homework that day to help reduce food waste.”

Families can look for leftovers in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards before trying new dishes

Families can look for leftovers in the fridge, freezer, and cupboards before trying new dishes

Tesco has made a commitment to stop wasting any quality food during its UK operations and has already made significant progress.

Best thing since sliced ​​bread? Homemade toast!

Kené Umeasiegbu from Tesco has some great recommendations for using unused bread.

I often find that I have unused bread in my kitchen, so either I chop the crusts and bake them with olive oil and spices to make croutons on soup or salad, or I cut the bread into crumbs and use as a fish coating or the top of crunchy pasta bread, he says.

Redistributing surplus food from its stores across OLIO has saved 37 million portions of food since November 2019, benefiting more than 120,000 people in local communities.

This comes on top of Tesco’s existing program of donations to surplus food, including the Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare, which already sees it donating 2 million meals a month to food charities across the UK.

In the summer of 2020, Tesco turned its attention from its stores to the homes, creating a pilot initiative with Hubbub that worked with 53 families to discover the best ways to reduce food waste at home.

The No Time to Waste Challenge found that changing the way families plan, shop and store food helped them reduce the amount of quality food they discarded by 76% – the equivalent of 1.46 kg each week.

“We know many of our customers share our ambition to tackle food waste, but sometimes struggle to do so in their own homes,” says Kené Umeasiegbu, Campaigns Manager at Tesco.

Customers clearly want to do more – excuse the pun – and our research showed that 56% of the population actively seek advice and guidance on how to reduce food waste at home. Right now, every little bit helps which is why we launched our “Use Up Day” campaign to help our customers spend less and reduce waste by using the food they already have in their kitchen.

We understand that lack of time and the perception that you need to be a good cook can be a barrier to taking action. Fortunately, Day of Use is straightforward and easy to do—with plenty of quick and simple recipes at Tesco’s Food Waste Center, to help your food move forward today.

How to start the day of use

With the help of our simple, practical and quick recipes, you can prepare delicious meals, save money and prevent good food from going to waste.

Visit, choose the weekly usage day that fits your lifestyle and start using the food you already have in your kitchen. It’s really that simple.

[1] Total household food waste cost in a household (based on 3.8 people) from a 2015 wrap study with cost of food (from April 2021) adjusted for inflation. Full WRAP Report Available here.

[2] All figures, unless otherwise noted, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 2,061 adults. Fieldwork was conducted from April 5-6, 2022. The survey was conducted online. Figures are weighted and represent all UK adults (aged over 18 years).

[3] Based on Hillman’s findings, a day of weekly use in a Canadian trial reduced food waste by a third each week. Hillman’s study is here.

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