Consumers and chefs have been urged to buy more frozen food so they waste less food.
The latest household food and drink report from the Government shows that households throw away 17% of all food bought. This figure could be slashed if more consumers opted for frozen equivalents instead, says the British Frozen Food Federation .
This waste costs £1,540m for vegetables alone, said BFFF director general, Brian Young (pictured). If more consumers opted for frozen, there would be virtually zero waste from products perishing in the cupboard or fridge.
Young suggested that this advice did not stop at consumers foodservice companies should also take note. The statistics follow research by Horizons FS which showed how caterers and chefs have continued to rely on frozen food it accounts for 22% of their purchases (see Horizons article here) Young added:
It is fair to estimate that a significant figure [for wasted food] can also be applied to foodservice. Chefs will often buy fresh vegetables and potatoes in bulk and if they dont serve the covers they predicted for the week, some can end up in the bin. The tough economic climate means that when consumers dine out they are picking lower priced meals and forsaking starters and desserts.
With the profit per cover already limited, chefs cannot afford to let produce go to waste. Frozen food offers an extended shelf life so products can be stored in peak condition until they are needed.
Fresh fruit and vegetables can perish quickly and chefs need to make intelligent ingredient choices to ensure that they are not buying products they cannot cook or store, Young told Foodservice Footprint. Its fundamentally wrong to continue with this throwaway culture it puts the industry under unnecessary pressure to supply large quantities of food when almost a fifth of it turns to mulch.
The Household Food and Drink Waste linked to Food and Drink Purchases research by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (www.defra.gov.uk), showed that of a total 5.3 million tonnes of avoidable waste, 32% is bread, 24% is potatoes and vegetables and 13% is meat and fish.