A full plate of food being emptied into a bin

Food waste on the increase again

More food thrown away lockdown eases, but some good food planning behaviour lingers.
29 July 2020 , Sarah Campbell

Levels of domestic food waste are on the rise as ‘normal’ life resumes post-lockdown.

Research carried out in June 2020 by the sustainability charity Wrap found that self-reported waste increased by 30% compared to the early stages of lockdown, when people were wasting less food and taking more care over their shopping.

Food waste levels are highest among people who have now returned to pre-lockdown working patterns after a period of working fewer hours, working from home or on furlough. People whose children returned to school also reported higher waste levels.

However, the research also came up with some positives: it found an increase in the number of behaviours such as pre-shop planning that people are using to manage their food better. 70% of people want to maintain at least some of these behaviours once the pandemic has passed.

To encourage this, Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste brand is launching a campaign called ‘Keep Crushing It’, urging people to keep up their pre-shop planning, smart storage, and creative cooking. It also explains the crucial impact this will have on the planet and the cost of people's food shop.

Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK, said: “We’ve seen clearly how effective the Love Food Hate Waste messages and tools are – we need to reach more people to widen our impact. Our partners have a key role to play in amplifying the ‘Keep Crushing It’ campaign, whether they are from across the supply chain, local and national governments, or charities and not-for-profits. The more novel and innovative ways we find to engage with new audiences about this, the greater our chance of meeting the crucial target of halving wasted food by 2030.”

Desire to keep behaviours post-lockdown
• I hope to keep a lot of the food shopping and preparation habits I/we had during lockdown: 20%
• I hope to keep a fair amount of the food shopping and preparation habits I/we had during lockdown: 28%
• I want to keep one or two of the food shopping and preparation habits I/we had before lockdown, but generally want the rest to go back to how they were: 22%
• I want my/our food shopping and preparation habits to go back to how they were before: 11%
• My food shopping and preparation habits didn’t change during lockdown: 20%

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