Waste News

Generation gap in food waste study finds

A report released by Sainsbury’s on Friday found that there is a definite gap between attitudes towards eating, with more than half of under 35s stating that they ‘live to eat’ compared to less than a third of over 55s.

With younger people being more likely to waste food, contributing to the seven million tonnes of food that is wasted annually, older Brits are being called upon to share their know-how in and around the kitchen.

According to the report, nearly two-fifths of those over 65 say that they never waste food compared with just 17 per cent of those under 35.

By studying the food habits of 5,050 people, Sainsbury’s discovered that over half over 18 to 34 year olds said that the idea of food is more about pleasure than necessity, which is in stark contrast to those aged 65 and over, at less than a third.

Dr Polly Russell, food historian and Broadcaster said that:

A post-war increase in household food waste is due to changes in how we value choice, time and money in relation to food. Gone are the days of eating the same food, on the same days of the week, week in, week out.

“Most people today, particularly younger generations, demand variety when it comes to food. As a result we’ve gained a broader and more exciting diet. However, with a menu which changes often, it is more challenging to control waste and plan ahead.

“Moreover, with increased working hours and busy lifestyles, people these days are less likely than previous generations to spend the time required to properly manage food supplies and use up leftovers, to minimise waste.”

To encourage the sharing of knowledge between generations Sainsbury’s has partnered with bloggers to share tips, with some inviting parents and grandparents to partake.

Paul Crewe, head of sustainability, energy, environmental and engineering at Sainsbury’s added:

We’ve been serving customers for nearly 150 years and have seen a range of trends over this times. Younger generations today have so many sources of inspiration at their fingertips, so passing recipes and knowledge through generations aren’t always seen as so important.

“There’s plenty to be learned from older generations, who waste less food and save more money as a result. We need to ensure those good habits are passed down to the next generation of young people, to stop both the environmental and financial impacts of wasting food.”

One the subject of wasting food through leftovers, the study found that those aged 18 to 34 are most likely to waste food, with 17 per cent leaving leftovers as much as three times a week.

Only 5 per cent of those aged over 55 are likely to waste food during a typical week.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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