Consumers are taking greater responsibility for food waste

The majority of British consumers feel personally responsible for any food that they waste, but nearly a third believe the food industry should also be accountable, according to new research.

A survey undertaken by the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) of over 1,000 shoppers found that consumers are throwing away less food than they did a year ago, with most food waste due to over-buying of fresh produce.

When asked about who should take responsibility for wasted food, 67% of respondents thought it was down to the individual/family, while 28% thought accountability should be shared with the food industry. Only 6% felt it was the sole responsibility of the food industry.

The survey also looked at how important environmental issues are to consumers. The majority (86%) were concerned about food waste and an equal number wanted to see packaging waste reduced. Using packaging which can be recycled, reuse or bio-degraded was important to 81% of respondents.

Shoppers also supported the food industry using new technologies and initiatives to reduce environmental impact. Reducing energy use in production and distribution was important to 75% of those questioned.

Using ingredients from sustainable sources such as the marine stewardship certification was important to 73% followed by reducing carbon emissions (68%), reducing water use (68%), using scientific developments (66%) and transporting products from abroad by rail rather than road (61%).

FDF’s director of communications, Terry Jones, said: “We are encouraged by these figures that show we are not wasting as much food as we were a year ago.

We are pleased to see that shoppers are still interested in the environment and want to see more done to reduce energy and water use and source sustainable raw materials.”

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie