Storing our food in its packaging can help keep it fresher for up to two weeks longer* and save the average family upto £270** a year. But new research released today, from Love Food Hate Waste shows that only 13% of us realise that packaging can play an important role in protecting food in our homes.
Not surprisingly the research found that after price, freshness and how long food lasts for are the most important factors for us when we go shopping. We all want to make sure our food is at its best for longer so that we don’t have to throw it, and our money, in the bin.
In fact there’s a great opportunity for us all to save money every week. Even though the majority of us, 61% in fact, are mistakenly thinking fruit and vegetables will sweat and go off quicker if they’re left in the pack. The evidence shows that if we keep our food in its packaging and store it according to the label when we get it home, we would have more time to eat it, reducing the 4.4 million tonnes of good food and drink wasted each year.
To help us waste less and save more, Love Food Hate Waste has launched ‘Fresher for Longer’ the perfect way to help us not waste food. With images of pears asking to hold onto their pack ‘till lunch do us part’ and cheese pledging ‘you make my shelf life complete’ the theme shows how packaging can not only protect our food from damage on its way to the shops, but keep it fresher for longer in our homes.
Fresher for longer’ is being officially launched today in conjunction with Marks & Spencer as part of its Plan A commitment to help customers live more sustainably. Over the years M&S has introduced a number of packaging innovations to help us waste less, such as vacuum ‘skin’ packs on fish and meats and the ‘It’s Fresh’ tab in strawberry punnets, to maintain the quality and freshness of its food for days longer. Today M&S has also launched a new online interactive ‘Fresher for Longer’ tool, on its Plan A website for customers to find the best way to store their food.
To save money, the best solution is to buy food we want to store for longer than a day or two, with the appropriate packaging; for example even fruit and vegetables bought loose can last longer if stored properly in a bag that is lightly tied in the fridge. Packaging innovation means many manufactures and supermarkets now use breathable fruit and veg bags, have more re-closable packs and many more clever features, all designed to make food last longer and save us as consumers money.
Love Food Hate Waste’s Emma Marsh said: “Saving money is always at the top of people’s wish list and wasting less food achieves this. By taking advantage of new packaging innovations, getting to know the packs our food now comes in and discovering the best way our food wants to be stored, for example at lovefoodhatewaste.com, we can reduce the amount we throw away which will have huge environmental benefits as well as saving us money. So when I get my food home, I keep it in its original packaging and check out the instructions on pack to keep my food fresher for longer.”
This new research, Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging, delivered in partnership with INCPEN, The Packaging Federation, The Food and Drink Federation, Kent Waste Partnership and The British Retail Consortium, has been published today by WRAP.
Industry partners said: “Food waste is a global issue. We all have a role to play in reducing it; manufacturers, retailers and consumers, and there are many ways of doing it. Keeping food in its specifically designed packaging, and following the dates and storage guidance that appears on the pack is a great start. We have made significant progress in this area, but there is still more that we can do to help reduce food waste, reduce the environmental impact and ultimately save consumers money”.
*Helping consumers reduce fruit and vegetable waste September 2008 By keeping fruit and vegetables in their original packaging in the fridge they will keep up to two weeks longer.
** £270 per family (the value of good food and drink that’s thrown away because it’s “not used in time”).