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Retail Programme – Food Waste

Helping Consumers Reduce Fruit and Vegetable Waste: Final Report

A research project examining consumer attitudes and behaviour around storage of fresh fruit and vegetables in the home. Recommendations made as to how consumers and retailers can help to reduce the amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables thrown away in the home are based on a survey of currentstorage advice given, and an experimental research programme.

Project code: RTL044-001 Research date: 1.6.07 – 30.6.08

Date: September 2008

WRAP helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.

Written by: David Johnson, Neil Hipps (East Malling Research) and Simon Hails (ReadingScientific Services Ltd)

Front cover photography: A selection of fresh fruit and vegetables WRAP and East Malling Research believe the content of this report to be correct as at the date of writing. However, factors such as prices, levels of recycled content and regulatory requirements are subject to change and users of the report should check with their suppliers to confirm the current situation.In addition, care should be taken in using any of the cost information provided as it is based upon numerous project-specific assumptions (such as scale, location, tender context, etc.). The report does not claim to be exhaustive, nor does it claim to cover all relevant products and specifications available on the market. While steps have been taken to ensure accuracy, WRAP cannot acceptresponsibility or be held liable to any person for any loss or damage arising out of or in connection with this information being inaccurate, incomplete or misleading. It is the responsibility of the potential user of a material or product to consult with the supplier or manufacturer and ascertain whether a particular product will satisfy their specific requirements. The listing or featuring of a particularproduct or company does not constitute an endorsement by WRAP and WRAP cannot guarantee the performance of individual products or materials. This material is copyrighted. It may be reproduced free of charge subject to the material being accurate and not used in a misleading context. The source of the material must be identified and the copyright status acknowledged. This material must not be usedto endorse or used to suggest WRAP’s endorsement of a commercial product or service. For more detail, please refer to WRAP’s Terms and Conditions on its web site:

Executive summary
1.0 Introduction Previous research by WRAP has revealed that 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away by UK consumers each year. Most of this could have been eaten, and 40% (by weight) of thisavoidable food waste is made up of fruit and vegetables, worth almost £3 billion. Almost 90% of this fruit and vegetable waste consists of fresh produce, about 1.4 million tonnes, and most is thrown away as a result of not being used in time (going off or going past the food date - ‘best before’, ‘display until’ etc.). For example, the top five fruit and vegetables which get thrown away whole,without being touched are:

    

Apples – 4.4 million per day. Potatoes – 5.1 million per day. Bananas – 1.6 million per day. Tomatoes – 2.8 million per day. Oranges – 1.2 million per day.

The environmental, financial and health implications of so much fresh produce being thrown away makes this category one of the priorities for WRAP and the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. WRAP issued anopen call for applications to its Innovation Fund in March 2007, for projects that would help reduce the amount of food thrown away by households in the UK. This project, led by East Malling Research, was one of the successful submissions. The objectives of the project were to: 1. 2. Gain information from consumers on how they currently manage the storage of fresh fruit and vegetables in the home,...
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