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WRAP Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012

This report updates WRAP’s 2007 report The Food We Waste which exposed the full scale of the food waste problem for the first time. It identifies how much food is wasted in UK homes, which foods are wasted most and why, and how much that waste costs. The WRAP research reveals a substantial reduction in the amount of household food and drink waste arising between 2007 and 2012, while also highlighting the scale of the opportunity remaining.

It shows that avoidable food and drink waste has reduced by 1.1 million tonnes (21%) from 5.3 million tonnes to 4.2 million tonnes since 2007. The reduction, saving UK consumers almost £13 billion over the five years to 2012, 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 communications initiatives by local authorities and the food industry, and changes to packaging, including clearer date labels by retailers and brands.  However, the report describes how the rate of reduction has slowed in recent years: we still throw away 4.2 million tonnes of food a year, which could have been eaten. WRAP writes further that almost half of this food goes straight from the fridge or cupboards to the bin without even making 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 calls 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, saving billions of pounds and reducing our negative impact on the environment.

You can read the full report and several other documents from WRAP including an executive summary and infographic here. There is also more information on the website. For more research and resources on food waste please see also our research library section on the topic here.

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