Appliance manufacturer Haier has made food waste and keeping food fresher for longer the focus of its latest range of products to launch in the UK. The moves comes after the company found that British families throw out £32.1 million of untouched or uneaten food every week.
Researchers from Haier looked at British families shopping and food storage habits – and found that nearly a third of UK households (that’s 6.3 million families) admit to throwing away food weekly, with the average value of food thrown out emerging as £5.10 per family.
According to the study, the average family disposes of two items of food a week, wasting almost £300 a year.
Surprisingly, not having their fridge at the correct temperature resulting in food going off or freezing (the recommended temperature to keep your fridge at is between 1°C to 5 °C) emerged as one of the main reasons one in ten waste perfectly good food.
Haier UK & Ireland managing director Dave Yearsley said: “One of the biggest contributors to food waste is within the household. Using their fridge correctly at the right temperature, actually does a lot to reduce food waste.”
Other excuses used for wasting food include bad planning (19%), our love for take-aways despite a fridge full of food (7%) and being sucked in to supermarket multi-buy deals that we don’t need (13%).
Nine in ten (87%) of the 2,000 adults polled admitted to throwing away untouched food, the survey found.
Another 50% said they regularly get confused over what items belong in the fridge and what should be stored in the cupboard, with a further 13% saying they have no idea what temperature a fridge should be with over half (55%) saying they’re happy as long as the fridge ‘feels cold’.
More than one in five said they wouldn’t even know how to change the temperature if they needed to.
Haier has recently launched a new range fridge-freezers with built-in ‘Fresher Techs’ technologies to help keep food fresher for longer in a bid to combat some of the issues uncovered by its research. Dave commented: “Throwing away food, especially food that hasn’t been touched should be avoidable.
“We’ve all been there before – bought a bit too much food and found ourselves binning it. Our plans change, we cook too much or we lose track of when we bought it, and before we know it – it’s passed its Use By date.
“What many people don’t realise is that storing food at the optimum temperature or in temperature-controlled compartments can really pay off – you could potentially save up to £60 a month by not throwing good food away and your food will taste better too! And if the Use By date is getting close most foods can be frozen – the freezer is a bit like a pause button, so you can buy yourself a bit more time and make the most of the food you buy when it suits you.”
BBC TV hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerley, who has been working with Haier to support their new launches, added: “Arm yourself with some freezer bags, some labels and a Sharpie permanent pen, and you are ready to wage war on waste by making your freezer your new best friend. Checking dates and using up food before it goes off, together with freezing excess purchases and left overs will make a real difference to your budget and you will still eat safely. Remember not to eat food after the Use By expiry date as it may be unsafe, but the Best Before date is only about quality so it’s fine to eat food after this so long as the food still looks and smells OK.”