A Waitrose poll of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas found 31% admit to wasting more food than usual at this time of year – as 61% overbuy to make sure they don’t run out. And 16% find it difficult to judge just how much they need to see them through.
But in a bid to curb the amount of food which gets chucked away, 35% are going to force down foods they don’t particularly like.
While 38% will be giving leftovers for their guests to take away with them, 41% will try to get creative in the kitchen to use up their leftovers.
With sandwiches being the most popular leftover dish, 39%t like to spice things up on Boxing Day with a curry, 36% turn to the traditional bubble and squeak, and 31% chuck their leftovers into a hearty soup.
The research was commissioned by Waitrose as part of its campaign to help halve UK household food waste by 2030, and to help customers save money and take care in their meal planning this Christmas, Waitrose chefs have come up with their top tips to make the most of festive leftovers.
Zoe Simons, senior brand development chef at Waitrose, said: “Getting ready for the big day can be a stressful and exciting time, especially now we’re able to host family and friends once again after the pandemic. But both of these factors can cause people to buy much more food at Christmas than they actually need – and inevitably, a proportion of this unfortunately finds its way into the bin.”
“It’s encouraging to learn that so many are taking care to reduce what they waste, particularly at Christmas and we want to help where we can. That’s why we’ve come up with some simple and exciting ways to give people the impetus to work up something special with what may typically have been thrown away.”
The research found potatoes, carrots and pigs in blankets are the most popular foods households have on Christmas Day, followed by sprouts and turkey.
With such an array of different foods left behind, 49% would be more likely to cook with their leftovers if they had more inspiration in the kitchen.
When quizzed more generally about food waste, 27% recognised their household had a problem with it, but 48% said their awareness of the issue has increased over the last five years. But the study, carried out via OnePoll, found 54% believe food waste is a major issue we need to tackle together as a society.
Zoe Simons added: “As tends to be the case with environmental issues, there are often small changes we can make at home which can make a difference. Nobody buys food with the intention of throwing it in the bin but with UK homes discarding 4.5 million tonnes of it every year, there are little steps you can take to reduce this waste.
“From planning your meals carefully over the Christmas period to ensure you’re buying the right amount for the number of people you’re hosting, to how you store your food. We’ve also made it easier for our customers by selling oddly shaped vegetables as well as forgotten cuts of meat – and we’re continuing to work closely with FareShare to donate surplus food to vulnerable families across the UK.”