Are we a nation of ‘roast-binners’?

While half of Brits rank a roast dinner as their favourite autumn meal, nearly two million are wasted every month in the UK, according to research from Sainsbury’s.

As the nation adjusts to the changing season, the supermarket chain has already seen demand for roast ingredients rocket, with potatoes suitable for roasting up 21%, beef joints up 12%, horseradish sauce up 37% and Yorkshire puddings up 38% over the last four weeks.

However, almost a fifth of every roast ends up in the bin, equating to 1.8million full roast dinners every month in the UK, according to a new study from Sainsbury’s ‘Waste less, Save more’ campaign.

Brits throw out double the amount of vegetables (27%) compared to meat (13%). But the ingredient least likely to be binned is Yorkshire pudding, with 72% of people saying they eat all of their pud every time.

Sainsbury’s head of sustainability energy, engineering & environment Paul Crewe said: “Rediscovering the roast dinner is one of the joys of autumn, especially since 43% of people say it’s the meal they’re most likely to eat with their families. But we need to be careful that our enthusiasm for this British dish doesn’t leave us with more than we can eat – becoming a nation of ‘roast-binners.’

“And it’s not just food we could save. The average roast dinner for a family of four costs around £14, meaning we’re throwing away £2.80 in leftovers. That’s £145.60 a year that families could pocket.”

As part of its ‘Waste less, Save more’ campaign to reduce the 4.2 million tonnes of unnecessary food waste in the UK, Sainsbury’s found that 39% of people leave leftover food every time they eat, with a quarter saying they are unsure of how to reuse or store leftovers, and half don’t have the right equipment in their kitchens to do so.

Paul continued: “Respondents told us they wished they knew more about managing and cooking food at home, and we’re dedicated to helping them do so, which is why we recently launched our first nationwide advertising campaign to help shoppers waste less food and save more money.”

In the town of Swadlincote in south Derbyshire, Sainsbury’s has invested £1 million to test new innovations in food reduction techniques. Local residents are taking part in the retailer’s latest initiative: the ‘Zero Waste Kitchen Challenge’.

During the three-month trial, 50 households will receive £100 in vouchers, which can be spent on products that will help them cut down on food waste. Products such as smoothie-makers and portion baskets for pasta are on offer.

Paul Crewe explained: “We hope the trial will tell us which items, advice or events people find most useful in helping reduce the amount of food they throw away. They will give regular updates, participate in an online group and complete food waste diaries, so we can collect a rich set of insights.”

Ingredients most likely to be ‘roast-binned’:

  1. Roast potatoes 
  2. Parsnips
  3. Carrots
  4. Cauliflower 
  5. Broccoli 
  6. Meat 
  7. Sauce (including gravy)
  8. Peas
  9. Stuffing 
  10. Yorkshire pudding

Sainsbury’s has suggested some tips to avoid being a ‘roast-binner’:turn roast lamb into a Mediterranean salad; make a roast potato curry; learn to make catch-all meals for little bits; freeze leftovers; and make a roast dinner waste cake.

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