Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the problems of food waste, with many taking steps to minimise this within their homes.
That is one of the key findings of research carried out by RPC bpi protec as part of its ‘Taste without Waste’ campaign to highlight the importance of reducing food waste. The survey of 1,000 British consumers also confirmed most people’s commitment to recycling and that brand support and loyalty can be enhanced through a company’s positive sustainability credentials.
The research revealed that 77% of respondents only throw their food out when it looks or smells off. Nevertheless, 20% admitted that they were more likely to throw food away on its ‘Best Before’ date or once it had been opened. Such actions have contributed to the increase in total waste from households in England, which rose by 2.5% in 2016 to 22.8 million tonnes.
Another initiative to reduce waste, highlighted in the research, was to freeze food that is coming up to its sell-by date, with 65% of respondents confirming that they did this. Although 59% believed that resealable packaging helped to reduce their food waste, this does also highlight an opportunity for greater on-pack communication on the benefits of reclosable packs.
With the issue of packaging waste continuing to dominate the media, the research revealed that 80% of those surveyed recycle all the time, and 73% said they understood the particular recycling requirements of their local area. Nevertheless, there were still 24% who only ‘somewhat’ understood the rules behind recycling. This underlines the need for continued consumer education in recycling ‘best practices’, as well as a more co-ordinated and unified national recycling system to eliminate differences between local authorities.
Not surprisingly, the majority of respondents would look more favourably on businesses with a good sustainability record. 83% were more likely to choose products with either less packaging or recyclable packaging, and 82% to use the services of a company who make an effort to recycle and cut down waste.
“Our research suggests that the majority of consumers are very much in tune with all the latest sustainability issues,” comments Sue Mohan, RPC bpi protec’s Sales Director.
“For the packaging industry, it is therefore vital that we continue to promote the many ways in which our packs help to minimise food waste, while also ensuring they demonstrate the strongest environmental profile, particularly in terms of recyclability or reusability.”
RPC bpi protec has produced a ‘Taste without Waste’ infographic (www.bpiconsumerpackaging.com/news) to explain its research findings and provide some practical tips on how consumers can further reduce their food waste. It is estimated that in the UK alone, 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown out annually from homes. This costs the average household around £470 each year.