Londoners are the biggest culprits for wasting fruit and vegetables in the UK, research has revealed.
The study, conducted by It’s Fresh, a UK food tech firm, showed that almost 28 per cent of people in the capital waste 10 per cent or more of the fruit and veg they purchase weekly, which is noticeably higher than the national average of 22 per cent.
The survey of more than 2,000 British adults found that more than a third (37 per cent) throw out their food alongside general waste because there is no separate provision for the disposal of food waste in their borough.
Just over half of London residents who throw away fruit and veg said they felt guilty for doing so, while 32 per cent of the respondents said they felt sad throwing away fresh produce.
Simon Lee, It’s Fresh co-founder, said: “The research clearly shows people are deeply frustrated by the food they’re forced to throw away and that this waste is mainly down to food not being used in time.”
Around half of the UK’s food waste total – around 7.3 million tonnes – comes from the home, equating to around £470 worth of food being needlessly discarded every year by the average household.
Previous evidence has suggested that a generational gap in attitudes towards eating is helping to fuel the UK’s food waste mountain, driven by time-poor millennials who do not understand the value of the food on their plate.
It’s Fresh’s own research found that across the UK, as much as 92 per cent of 18-24 year olds throw away fruit and veg every week – 17 per cent more than the UK average (75 per cent) and 30 per cent more than those aged 65+ (62 per cent).
Mr Lee added: “A lot of this waste is genuinely needless – fresh food can and should last longer and more needs to be done with technology to make this happen.”
Technology is set to become an increasingly powerful tool in helping retailers and environmental organisations to engage consumers on food waste reduction. There are already plenty of tech solutions on the market, including the FridgeCam – a device which keeps track of what its owners have in stock and when it expires, sending alerts to buy new items when necessary.
It’s Fresh has also developed its own solution to the issue by creating a sheet-like filter that acts like a sponge to absorb ethylene, which is emitted by fruits and some vegetables as they begin to ripen. It’s Fresh claims that this filter can extend the shelf life of fresh produce by up to four days.