Disorganised holiday makers set to waste up to €20m this summer

Food and drink binned ahead of breaks away include bread, milk and salad leaves

The average cost of the food waste put at just under €10 €11.50 per household, according to a new survey carried out by Sainsbury’s. Photograph: Getty Images

The average cost of the food waste put at just under €10 €11.50 per household, according to a new survey carried out by Sainsbury’s. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish people are likely to waste as much as €20 million over the course the next two months simply because they shop badly in the run up to their summer holidays.

A survey carried out by Sainsbury’s in the UK and published on Monday indicated that a staggering £200 million of perfectly edible food is binned by British people ahead of their summer break, with milk, bread and salad leaves the things most likely to be tossed out before consumers head off on their holliers.

While there is no comparable data for the Republic, consumers here share many of the shopping characteristics of people across the water so the patterns are likely to be similar.

According to the survey 81 per cent of travellers empty their fridge completely before heading away with the average cost of the food waste put at just under €10 €11.50 per household.

The cost of the food waste is more than twice that amount in a third of households where at least £20 (€23) of food is binned by people emptying their fridges and cupboards before a break.

Oddly, 10 per cent admitted to not modifying the shopping at all and doing normal food shop in the days ahead of leaving home for a two week spell.

That is not the only odd finding in the survey. A third of those polled said they would get rid of jars and bottles of condiments known to last for months, for fear they will go off while they are away.

The top 10 food and drinks thrown away before a holiday are milk, bread, bagged salad, fruit, meat, vegetables, processed meats, juice, opened bottles of wine and dips.

The behaviour is said to be driven by pre-holiday panic as packing takes over people’s lives.

“We’ve all been there – the run-up to summer holidays can be busy with a seemingly never-ending ‘to-do’ list before we get to relax on that sun-lounger, and knowing what to do with the food in our fridge is just one more thing to think about,” a Sainsbury’s spokesman said.

If you don’t want to be one of those people who is guilty of wasting perfectly good food, you need to be organised and you need to remember that your freezer is your friend. With that in mind, we thought we’d include some top tips to help you chill this summer.

  • Wrap foods well to prevent ‘freezer burn’, which dehydrates your food.
  • Blanch or steam fresh vegetables then cool them quickly in ice before freezing.
  • Pour opened bottles of wine into an ice cube tray or zip lock bag and use for sauces and stews when you get home.
  • Do the same with your milk and defrost for normal use on your return.
  • Label packages with the name of the food and date it was frozen or else it will just stay in your freezer for ever because you won’t have a breeze what it is.
  • Herbs like basil, mint and parsley can’t really be frozen unless you chop and mix them with olive oil and then freeze them in an ice cube tray
  • Bananas can be frozen with their skins on to save you having to prepare them pre-freeze.
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