Lockdown unlocks potential for food waste saving

Published

New campaign calls for people in Norfolk and Suffolk to share their food saving successes to help others do the same.

James Mallinder Food Savvy

  • Research shows how lockdown has prompted households to reduce food waste, with potential for long-term environmental gain
  • New ‘Food Savvy Unlocked’ campaign celebrates household’s savings, invites locals to share their experiences and support further change
  • The campaign launches at the start of #FoodWasteActionWeek, a national effort to tackle the 4.5 million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK every year.

A concerted regional effort to fight food waste launches today, as “Food Savvy Unlocked,” the latest campaign from the Food Savvy partnership between Norfolk County Council, Suffolk Waste Partnership and environmental charity Hubbub, shines a light on the true environmental and financial costs of food waste.

Throughout lockdown, local figures have shared their food saving successes and are calling on others to join the conversation and take positive climate action.

Food waste is a major contributor to climate change despite being little known in the region. According to Food Savvy research, fewer than two in five (39%) realise that food waste is a major cause of climate related emissions. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest global greenhouse emitter, behind the USA and China.

Each year, UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten. In Norfolk and Suffolk this amounts to £730 per year for an average household with children. But this is no normal year. Research from Food Savvy revealed that since lockdown restrictions were first introduced in 2020, two in five Norfolk and Suffolk households (41%) have said they are throwing away less food.

The top three tricks households use for this are; planning meals more carefully (58%), using the freezer more (51%) and getting better at using leftovers (45%). Four in ten (41%) of those who are throwing away less food now, say they are now freezing a wider variety of foods and more than a quarter (25%) say they are now eating more foods past their best before date.

Food Savvy Unlocked is both a celebration of the positive environmental changes that have been made over lockdown and a call to action for more households to get involved and share their efforts in the climate fight.

Councillor James Mallinder, Chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership says:

“Having restrictions on leaving our homes has meant that shopping for food is now planned rather than the scatter gun approach when I visit a grocery store. I think about what I might cook, how one piece of food might lead to something else. I’m enjoying making my food go further and proud to do my bit for the environment. Thinking about what I am buying means I can contributing something positive to environmental concerns, the smallest of changes we make in our day to day living can make a big difference.”

Lifestyle blogger, Dinky in Norfolk says:

“Lockdown restrictions led us to start buying local seasonal produce direct from local suppliers. It also led us to appreciate how valuable food is and just how important it is for us not to let the food we do have go to waste.”

As part of the Food Savvy Unlocked campaign, the Food Savvy partnership is inviting residents of Suffolk and Norfolk to share their ‘Lockdown Food Hacks’ for a chance to win £100 worth of kitchen treats including a £50 shopping voucher and a food saving kit. Have a FoodSavvy lesson from lockdown you’d like to share? Head to: www.foodsavvy.org.uk to find out how to get involved.

Tessa Tricks, Senior Creative Partner at Hubbub said:

“Food Savvy Unlocked collates the food related triumphs, changes and learnings acquired by people in Norfolk and Suffolk during lockdown. Now is a moment to take stock of what we can do to make food go further for the sake of the planet and our pockets. The good news is that there are very simple actions which we can all take today.”

The collective inspiration will be hosted on the Food Savvy website and shared throughout #FoodWasteActionWeek and until the end of this lockdown. For more information about the Food Savvy partnership and how to enter the draw, visit: www.foodsavvy.org.uk

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said:

“Wasting food is a major cause of climate change – it generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the commercial flights in the world. We know through our research that the climate change emergency matters to people so this is something we can – and must – act on together. It is time to focus on saving one of our most precious resources instead of generating greenhouse gases producing food that is never eaten.

"I’m delighted to be launching the first UK Food Waste Action Week in March, and to have such strong support from our partners across sectors. Together we will inspire real and lasting change. Food Waste Action Week gives organisations a unique opportunity to capture their customers’ attention as part of a national event and help them to play their part in eliminating food being wasted and tackling climate change.”