How much food families are wasting every year

And what we can do to reduce our food waste.
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We’re all guilty of wasting food but a new study has found just how much families are throwing away and the results won’t leave you feeling proud.

Food waste disposal firm InSinkErator commissioned the research and discovered that parents serve 1460 evening meals to their family during an average year, but end up throwing away the equivalent of over a quarter of those.

That’s around 394 plates of food going uneaten.

And it was all down to a combination of fussy eaters, snacking before mealtimes and poor appetites. Almost a quarter of parents even admitted to often cooking meals knowing full well a large amount of it will end up in the bin.

The poll of 2000 parents found eight in 10 regularly end up throwing away at least part of their children’s meals.

Forty-five per cent blame this on their little ones being fussy eaters with 57 per cent revealing they have put a meal in front of their child, only to have them completely refuse to eat it. And a staggering 78 per cent had dealt with a child turning down a meal because they ‘didn’t like it’ – despite eating it happily in the past.

Salad is the dish most likely to be left by children, followed by meat and veg, stir-fry and risotto.

But children aren’t the only ones to blame as the poll, carried out on, also found the average adult leaves behind around a quarter of what’s on their plate. That’ll be all the potato chips before dinner then!

The study also found almost one in four worry about the amount of food they throw away, but more than half of those questioned admitted they have no idea what happens to their food when it leaves their home, with 46 per cent believing it simply goes to landfill.

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Top 10 foods children refuse to eat – and which end up in the bin

  1. Mushrooms

  2. Avocado

  3. Cabbage

  4. Tomatoes

  5. Broccoli

  6. Lettuce

  7. Green Beans

  8. Onions

  9. Peppers

  10. Salmon

Fish cakes

To reduce waste at yours try the following:

  • Plan your meals for the week and list their ingredients on your shopping list – then stick to the shopping list when you’re at the supermarket

  • Review your family’s portion sizes – are you overfeeding them?

  • Start composting – composting is suitable for raw fruit and veggie peels/leftovers, egg shells and tea bags (no cooked food, meat, dairy or fats)

  • Cut out snacking before meals

  • Get your kids involved in planning, preparing and cooking meals – they’re more likely to eat it if they have a say (and a hand) in it

  • Take leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day – or reheat for the next night’s dinner

  • ‘Repurpose’ leftovers – leftover rice can be made into a stir-fry, leftover potato mash can be used to make fish cakes, leftover roast meat and veggies can be made into ‘bubble and squeak’ (ask your nana)

Words by Grazia and Now To Love

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