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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Families throw away €1,000 of food every year

Paul Melia

A THIRD of all food bought by consumers -- worth almost €1,000 a year -- ends up in the bin because we buy too much and don't store it properly.

More than half of people admit to regularly throwing out food, and the needless waste is costing each home dearly.

A survey from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that fruit, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, bread and dairy products are most likely to end up in the bin. People don't look at best-before dates, buy too much and are too quick to avail of special offers.

Three of the country's top chefs yesterday urged homeowners to get involved in the Stop Food Waste movement, which was launched in Dublin.

Rachel Allen, Kevin Thornton and Donal Skehan said that planning meals and using a shopping list would help save money and avoid waste.

"We have all been guilty of wasting food at some point and it s all too easily done with busy and demanding schedules, but with just a bit of forward planning we can definitely all avoid it," Rachel Allen said.

A national survey of 1,100 people carried out by the EPA found that 51pc of all people regularly threw food away. It found that 30pc of the food we buy ends up in the bin, costing up to €1,000 per household per year.

While there was a good understanding of the importance of keeping meat, dairy and food leftovers in the fridge, other foods such as fruits, jams, jellies and sauces were often left in cupboards and in fruit bowls, which shortened their shelf live.

The survey also found:

  • Almost one-in-three people (29pc) do not follow the recommended storage information on packaged goods, meaning food is thrown away.
  • Despite 97pc of all respondents admitting to being bothered about throwing out food, almost half (45pc) do nothing to prevent it.
  • The average person throws out almost 100kgs of food a year -- the equivalent of 3,750 apples.

The survey also found that 60pc of people used a shopping list, but only half of these stuck to it. Most shoppers get distracted by special offers, with 85pc saying they availed of two-for-one offers on food products.

"This is a common trap that people fall into when they shop and they see something that represents value for money," Odile Le Bolloch, the EPA's Stop Food Waste spokesperson, said.

Irish Independent

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