Research from Sainsbury’s reveals a huge spike in healthier, more sustainable New Year’s resolutions, with one in five Brits pledging to reduce food waste, whilst a further one in 10 strive to lessen their carbon footprint and buy second hand

A staggering £1.17bn worth of fruit, veg and bread is wasted every year by Brits, according to new research from Sainsbury’s. The study reveals that the average British household throws away nearly three items a week, or 75.6m as a nation.

The news comes as Sainsbury’s investigates changing attitudes towards New Year’s resolutions and as the retailer continues with its mission to ‘Help Everyone Eat Better’. Encouragingly, eating healthily tops the list this year, with more than 3.5bn* (52% of Brits) pledging to eat a more nutritious diet, up from 24% 20 years ago and 37% 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, despite only 14% of British adults setting a resolution to live more sustainably in 2012 and 11% in 2002, it’s top of many people’s agenda this year. Reducing food waste (22%), recycling more (21%) and reducing carbon footprint (15%) make the list of top 10 resolutions set this January.

Food waste is a huge issue facing the British public, with research revealing the average UK household throws away 142 carrots, onions, tomatoes, courgettes, potatoes and loaves of bread a year. In fact, a staggering 8-10% of global GHG emissions come from food waste. With over half (56%) of those surveyed admitting they feel guilty about the amount of food they throw away, it’s no surprise so many are looking to tackle their food waste habits head on in 2022.

Item
 Average number of items purchased by individual British households every week  Average percentage that goes to waste in individual British households every week Total number of items the nation wastes each year   Average cost of each item    Total cost of items that are thrown away each year
 Potatoes  4.71  13.44%  17,593,003  £0.27  £247,005,762.23
 Carrots  3.77  13.37%  14,008,529.81  £0.03  £21,853,306.50
 Courgettes  1.59  20.35%  46,7610,961  £0.24  £112,226,630.63
 Tomatoes  3.8  13.36%  733,691,013.10  £0.24  £176,085,843.15
 Onions  3.03  12.70%  556,121,255  £0.09  £50,050,912.95
 Bread  2.72  13.58%  53,3816,285.2  £1.06  £565,845,262.30

*Figures based on 27,792,000 British households according to ONS data

However, 22% say the reason they waste so much is that they don’t know what to cook, with an additional 18% saying they could reduce food waste if they knew more recipes.

To help combat this, Sainsbury’s is encouraging its customers to make more homemade soup to use up vegetables that may have otherwise gone to waste, creating a host of delicious, cheap, and easy recipes for its website. The move comes as the retailer pledges to halve food waste across its value chain by 2030, having already successfully reduced waste by over 5,000 tonnes in 2021 – a 16 per cent reduction year-on-year. Sainsbury’s is a founding partner of Fareshare and works with 15,000 charity partners nationwide through its partnership with Neighbourly to donate surplus food from across its stores. Since August 2021, Sainsbury’s stores donated the equivalent of 1,803,787 meals to charities and local communities.

The recipes created to help reduce waste include classics such as a veg-packed roasted tomato and pepper soup and a pea and leek soup that can feed a family of four for under £5, as well as new, innovative dishes to brighten up midweek meals such as fragrant squash noodle soup and shorba, a vegan lentil soup.

Sainsbury’s is continuing its mission to “Help Everyone Eat Better”, by breaking down the barriers and misconceptions that soup is difficult to make and is actually a cheap, easy and delicious way for its customers to eat better and more sustainability.

Mark Given, Chief Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s said: “At Sainsbury’s we’re committed to helping our customers eat better for their health and that of the planet, so it’s really encouraging to see that so many Brits are looking to create more sustainable and healthy habits to see them through 2022. Whether it’s using up leftover ingredients or batch cooking for busy days, our new soup recipes are designed to make eating better for both health and the planet as simple and affordable as possible.

“There’s a common misconception that making soup from scratch is difficult, but we’re determined to show our customers that this isn’t the case whilst providing them with healthier options that will also help them reduce their food waste, one bowl at a time.”

*Based on 67 million British adults: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates

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