Families waste at least $500 a year on discarded food.
Most families massively underestimate the amount of food they throw away each week, according to recent research. The survey showed that the average four person family wastes about $10 per week just on discarded food and drink.
Despite the economic downturn and money being tight in a lot of households, many admitted to buying more than they need on a regular basis and are often tempted by supermarket offers that encourage them to spend more than they budgeted.
The audit of households’ food shopping habits found that the average household spends $120 per week on food but that an amazing 91% of those households with children admitted to throwing some of that away.
Vegetables were top of the most commonly discarded food list closely followed by bread and fruit, and 40% of those questioned admitted they felt guilty for wasting food.
The main reason cited for wasting food was over buying mainly because of supermarket offers and multi-buy deals.
The failure to plane meals ahead prior to going shopping was another issue, with one in three people admitting to not planning or writing a list to take with them of the items they needed.
Hard times for some have helped to change attitudes, especially families with children at home, as 37% of them questioned said that they now planned more than before the downturn.
Overall it would seem that a large proportion of households have changed their eating habits due to changing economic circumstances and nearly 50% of all families are eating out less, while about 24% have changed what they eat at meal times, which means consumers are buying cheaper food, and 26% try to all eat the same food at meal times in order to keep costs down.
There are government moves and initiatives to try and change the public attitude towards food waste and is looking at fresh ways of communicating the need to maintain a healthy diet and cut down on waste for environmental as well as financial reasons. The aim is to get people to look at their eating habits as we generally see wasteful behavior in others but don’t always notice it in ourselves.
Take a look at what is in your bin and see what you have thrown away that could have been saved or didn’t need to be bought in the first place. Planning meals and writing a shopping list that you stick to when visiting the supermarket is a great way of reducing waste and of course, saving money. A lack of time for shopping after work means that a large weekly shop at the supermarket is often what we do, but if you can find the time to shop every 2-3 days and only buy what you need, you are sure to reduce your waste and notice a difference in your spending.
The United States Department Of Agriculture offers some great advice on healthy eating and nutrition which can be used to plan a balanced weekly menu using fruit and vegetables in meals that the family will enjoy, and in the process, reduce the amount of waste by using the ingredients you have bought more efficiently.
If you can make a real effort to review your eating and shopping habits you will feel good about it and more than likely, so will your wallet as well as the environment, as you reduce your food waste.
Guest post written by Liz Goldman on behalf of Wonga