Research shows amount of meat wasted in UK

The cost of needlessly wasted food to UK households is £10bn a year, £2bn higher than previously estimated according to new research published today by WRAP.

A total of 1.2 million sausages, 1 million slices of ham, 5,500 whole chickens and 440,000 ready meals are thrown away in the UK each day by consumers.

The study revealed that £1bn worth of wasted food is still "in date".

Researchers found that more than half the good food thrown out, worth £6bn a year, is bought and simply left unused or untouched.

Meat and fish made up a large proportion - 18% - of the total money wasted on food.

The research gives detailed new insights into the nature and amount of food waste thrown away in the UK and is believed to be the most comprehensive study of its kind ever carried out.

It reveals that the average household throws out £420 of good food a year. For the average family with children it's higher at £610 - money which could have helped to pay household bills.

Launching the report 'The Food We Waste' today, Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP, described the findings as "shocking".

"Food waste has a significant environmental impact. This research confirms that it is an issue for us all, whether as consumers, retailers, local or central government. I believe it will spark a major debate about the way food is packaged, sold, stored at home, cooked and then collected when it is thrown out."

Joan Ruddock, environment minister, said: "These findings are staggering in their own right, but at a time when global food shortages are in the headlines this kind of wastefulness becomes even more shocking.

"This is costing consumers three times over. Not only do they pay hard-earned money for food they don't eat, there is also the cost of dealing with the waste this creates. And there are climate change costs to all of us of growing, processing, packaging, transporting, and refrigerating food that only ends up in the bin."