37 Latest Food Waste Statistics for the UK (2024)

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Written by: - Garden Design Expert

Have you ever opened the fridge to find multiple things past their expiry dates? These UK food waste statistics show you are not alone. See how much food we waste and what it all means!

UK Food Waste Statistics

  1. The UK produced 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in 2018. (The House of Lords)
  2. 70% of our food waste is still edible, and only 30% is classified as inedible parts. (WRAP)
  3. The UK produces the highest food waste in Europe, almost twice that of Sweden and Spain. (The European Commission)
  4. The UK’s food waste could feed over 30 million people annually. (The Grocer)
  5. In fact, the amount of food thrown away could feed the entire UK population three meals a day for 11 weeks. (WRAP)
  6. The average UK family throws away £470 worth of food every year. (Business Waste)
  7. There has been a 15% reduction in food waste since 2007. (The House of Lords)
  8. By 2018, the edible parts of our food waste had reduced by 26% from 2007. (WRAP)
  9. However, inedible parts increased during the same time, partly due to increasing population and food production. (WRAP)
  10. Food waste creates more than 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, which is the same emissions as 3.5 million cars. (Which)

Who Produces the Most Food Waste?

  1. Broken by sector, 70% of food waste is from households, 16% from manufacturers, 12% from hospitality and food services, and 3% from the retail industry. (WRAP)
  2. Household food waste could fill around 66,000 three-bed terraced houses, equivalent to the population of Peterborough. (WRAP)
  3. Industrial food waste, or surplus food, in the UK amounts to 2,000,000 tonnes for farms, 52,000-160,000 tonnes for processing and manufacturing, and 80,000-120,000 tonnes for wholesale and distribution. (FareShare)
  4. The retail sector throws away 47,000-110,000 tonnes of surplus food every year. (FareShare)
  5. The amount of surplus food could fill 3 Wembley stadiums or 13 million large wheelie bins. (WRAP)

What is the Most Common Food Waste?

  1. Over 2 million tonnes of wasted food is still edible. (WRAP)
  2. We throw away 20 million slices of bread, 5.2 million glasses of milk and 4.4. million potatoes every day. (Which)
  3. UK households waste over 178 million bags of salad every year. (UK Harvest)
  4. The main reason for throwing away food was that it wasn’t used in time (41%), followed by personal preference (28%) and cooking or serving too much (25%). (WRAP)
  5. We’re also throwing away takeaways, with the majority of 53% of respondents saying they threw away takeaway leftovers because portion sizes were too big. (Food Waste Race)
  6. Eating out can also create waste, with 40% of food waste in the hospitality industry coming from carbohydrates; potatoes amount to 21%, bakery products 12%, and pasta 7%. (Biffa)
  7. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our attitudes toward food, and 48% of 2,000 surveyed said they are throwing away less food now. (Hubbub)
  8. 26% of the surveyed said they leave less on the plate, and 27% said they are better with portion sizes. (Hubbub)

What is the Cost of UK Food Waste?

  1. On average, a family of four wastes £70 worth of food a month. (Which)
  2. Half of all fresh potatoes bought by UK households are thrown away at the cost of £230 million. (The Guardian)
  3. £1.8 billion worth of takeaway is thrown away every year. (Sustainable Restaurant Association)
  4. Businesses spend 4-5% of their turnover on waste disposal. (Biffa)
  5. A 5% reduction in food waste could save £250 million in the hospitality and food service sector. (WRAP)
  6. Between 2015 and 2020, food waste prevention initiatives saved £1 billion worth of food from going to waste (320,000 tonnes). (WRAP)
  7. Food waste is especially devastating at a time when 7 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat. (FareShare)

Can Food Waste Be Used for Good?

  1. Food waste releases methane when it breaks down, and this greenhouse gas is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (Which)
  2. The main reasons people don’t want to recycle their food were: bad odours (35%), pests (30%), unhygienic (24%), and messiness (18%). (Which)
  3. 18% of people think recycling food is too much hassle. (Which)
  4. However, recycled food can create energy; in the UK, 1.3 million tonnes of food waste created electricity to power 200,000 homes. (Which)
  5. Around 740,000 tonnes of surplus food is redistributed via charities or commercial routes, or diverted to produce animal feed. (WRAP)
  6. In April 2020, 79% of over 4,000 respondents said they had changed their food management behaviour. (WRAP)
  7. 41% of people said they plan their shopping more by checking the fridge and cupboards, 35% said they check use-by dates, and 30% started using more of their leftovers. (WRAP)

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