According to new research carried out by Sainsbury's, Brits think they bin almost 10% of their weekly shop.
With 8% wasting as much as a quarter of the food regularly bought, the research has identified six types of people, each of whom wastes food in a different way.
Despite tough economic times, supporting analysis carried out by Wrap reveals that British shoppers are unnecessarily throwing away an incredible £12 billion worth of food a year. Furthermore, if UK households tackled avoidable food waste, they would save an average of £50 a month.
The research reveals that people waste food in a variety of different ways according to their lifestyles and beliefs. To find the best ways to tackle the problem, Sainsbury's is working with WRAP's Love Food Hate Waste to address them one by one.
Jack Cunningham, Sainsbury's head of climate change and environment, said: "No one wants to waste food, but unpredictable lifestyles and hectic schedules mean many think it is unavoidable. By recognising which type of shopper they are, customers can learn to plan meals more effectively, cutting waste and reducing household costs."
Hungry Hoarders, who make up 11% of the UK adult population, shop while hungry, resulting in impulse purchases. They often fail to plan ahead meaning their shop might not create complete meals.
Another key offender is the Ditsy Diarist, who currently accounts for 9% of the population. Ditsy Diarists do not consult their little black books before their trip to the supermarket and as they eat out a lot or work late, much of what they buy sits unused in the fridge and is eventually thrown away.
Other groups that have surfaced are the Food Phobics (25%)- who are ultra-conscious and throw away food on or before the best before date without first checking its condition. The Separate Shoppers are a generation of independent individuals who buy their own food without checking what their partner or housemate has already bought, often resulting in duplication.
However all is not lost, some people are a far more careful about food waste. Topping the list are the Freezer Geezers - those who simply love their leftovers and use their freezers effectively to minimise food waste. Similarly, Conscientious Consumers are a group who love to make meals out of leftovers. Freezer Geezers and Conscientious Consumers combined make up 44% of the population.
Food waste has become a hot topic over recent years, and the majority (67%) of consumers admit they do not always plan their shopping trips by making a list or meal planning, instead deciding what to buy while in the store. 46% admit that they do not know the correct ways to store food.
Keen to tackle this problem head on,Sainsbury's is introducing a raft of new measures to help reduce the amount of food wasted by:
Working in conjunction with Love Food Hate Waste to train in-store counter colleagues up and down the country so that colleagues are on hand to give customers practical tips and advice to help reduce their household food waste
Providing tips and recipe ideas on how to use leftovers on www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste from WRAP said: "The industry has a huge role to play in helping reduce the amount of food we waste and we are working together to achieve solid results. Our research shows, for example, that Brits throw away around 37 million slices of bread a day in the UK and we have a long way to go to prevent this. We hope that by working withSainsbury's, we will help individuals enjoy their food more by learning to love their leftovers, which will help the environment and save money."
Defra Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister, Lord Taylor continues: "Too much food gets wasted, which is not only bad for the household budget, but also bad for businesses' bottom line. Since publishing the Waste Review we've introduced new guidance on food date labelling to help clear up confusion for customers and stop good food going to waste. We have also set up responsibility deals with the food industry to tackle waste in the supply chain and help them to save money.
"The government-backed Love Food Hate Waste campaign also provides advice to consumers on how to avoid food going to waste and the Government is leading by example after introducing standards requiring caterers to reduce what we throw away."