Challenge shows way forward with huge fall in food waste

Winner of food blender holds her prize and stands in front of Christmas tree.

There was a big fall in food waste amongst more than 100 residents who took part in the seventh annual Dacorum Love Food, Hate Waste challenge in November. The average reduction in food waste in participating households over the month-long challenge was around 40 per cent, meaning residents not only saved money but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall in the UK, 70 per cent of food waste comes from people’s homes at a cost of around £14 billion a year, and with 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions the outcome.

Of those taking part in the challenge, more than 90 per cent said that it had helped them to reduce food waste within their home, with participants completing a food waste diary so progress was measured.

During the challenge, each of the participating 50 households received two emails every week - one explaining a behaviour on which to focus (such as freezing leftovers and portion planning) and the other highlighting commonly wasted foods (such as bananas and milk), with recipes suggested to inspire people with ways each food can be best used. The guidance was well received - more than 92 per cent of those surveyed after the challenge said they will pass their new knowledge on to family and friends.

One participant made soup from peelings, creating at least 12 lunches and saving more than £30 for the month in the process, with the challenge accounting for around a £50 drop in food costs overall.

Those that completed both the pre-challenge and post-challenge surveys were entered into a prize draw - the lucky winner was Aleksandra Marut (pictured) who claimed a food blender, which will help her to further lower the amount of food wasted from her household.

Aleksandra said: “Taking part in the challenge was very useful because I learned how to reduce food waste in simple steps. I would recommend the challenge to anyone.”

If you are interested in signing up for the next Love Food, Hate Waste challenge, please email to register your interest.