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New report shows Worcester among worst waste offenders
WORCESTER is one of Britain’s worst cities for wasting food, new figures have revealed.
The data shows the average household in the city throws away £672.36 worth of food every year, the fifth highest in the country and second highest in the West Midlands – behind only Birmingham.
Supported by green campaigners Love Food Hate Waste, the research polled 2,000 consumers and showed that the average household bought too much food in bulk, prepared too much food for meals and did not store goods properly, leading to waste.
The study of supermarket spending habits, carried out on behalf of electronics firm Samsung, also revealed that people threw away packaged food that hadn’t even been opened.
And the figures were backed up by supermarket giant Tesco, which yesterday released its own data showing households wasted an estimated £700 per year in food.
The supermarket carried out research, tracking goods from production to the bin, in a bid to highlight the amount of waste it produced.
And the data revealed it generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of this year.
Tesco estimated that, across the UK food industry, 68 per cent of salad produced to be sold in bags was wasted, with 35 per cent of it thrown out by customers, as well as an estimated 40 per cent of apples and almost half of bakery produce, 47 per cent, also wasted.
Worcester city councillor Neil Laurenson, Green Party member for St Stephen’s ward, said: “The figures are really shocking for a small city like Worcester. I did not think we would be that high up the table.
“Hopefully these figures will jolt people into making them realise they have to start managing their food expenditure and wastage a lot more carefully.
“Of course there will always be food wastage, as we can’t always eat all our food, but we can tackle the problem.
“Sell-by dates are a guide, you can eat food past the date for up to two or three days.
"Families need to budget properly. Buying in bulk and then realising they have bought too much is not good.
"People are throwing away too much food.
"These figures do not make good reading for our city and how we will be viewed across the country.”
Matt Simister, commercial director of Tesco, said: “We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution. Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and veg in the right way.
“We’re playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store.
“Ending multi-buy promotions on large packs of bagged salads is one way we can help, but this is just the start and we’ll be reviewing what else we can do.
“We’re working with our suppliers to cut waste at all stages of the journey from farm to fork.”
Richard Swannell, director of the waste and resources action programme, said: “We welcome Tesco’s approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain, and by identifying the hot spots, they can tackle these areas effectively,” he said.
“Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so.”
THE TOP FIVE OFFENDERS
Aberystwyth - £884
Birmingham - £830.96
Oxford - £708.24
Swansea - £682.76
Worcester - £672.36
MICHELLE MAKES IT WORK
SOME households in Worcester are bucking the wasteful trend.
Michelle Tully, aged 25, of Perdiswell, Worcester, lives with her partner Craig Smith, 34, who works full-time, and they manage their food waste and costs carefully.
“I think people are just being lazy and are not prepared to cook food or prepare it properly,” said Miss Tully, who works four jobs, including as a receptionist and in sales.
“We have a shopping budget of a maximum of £30 and we do fine.
“There are many ways of saving money but you just have to be prepared to be more careful, budget properly and make a few sacrifices.
“I do lots of money saving things; I buy tinned food as that doesn’t go out of date for a long time and me and my partner also buy a lot of reduced food, as it’s still fine to eat.”
“Storing food is also a good way of saving money. Freezing food is the big way.
“We have everything in Tupperware boxes, so food doesn’t go off, and we put all our leftovers in the freezer too and make a meal out of the leftovers.
“I had pesto on toast the other day, it was amazing.
“I also share vegetables with neighbours, which helps keep costs low.
“It really annoys me when people say they can’t afford to buy food, as it can be done.
“They are just being careless with their food and money.”
Marrienne Williams wrote: “When you live alone its difficult to buy portions of meat, like mince beef and diced chicken, to serve one at an equivalent price to family packs. Yes, you can batch cook and freeze but it’s never the same after defrosting.
“Also, with pre-packed bags of fruit and veg, you can’t find the same value for money on loose produce, so it is sometimes inevitable I may waste something, but try not to.”
Claire Bowden urged people to buy local to beat waste.
She wrote: “If you support your local shops and use the butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers you can quite easily buy the amount you need instead of family packs and pre-packed fruit and veg.
“It's also better quality than supermarkets’ fresh produce. I've not bought fresh produce from the supermarket for years. Support your local businesses.”
And Jane Wallin said it was possible to use all produce. “I am single and I don’t waste any food whatsoever, unless you consider topping and tailing carrots and onions waste,” she wrote.
“I don’t peel veg, I eat the lot, and the only part of fruit I don’t eat is the skin on a banana.
“I buy all my fruit and veg from Aldi in pre-packed bags and I am able to keep and eat all of it.
“The only thing that I consider is a problem in my flat is food packaging.
“My bin is full of it.”
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