Tesco and Hubbub are collaborating on a ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’ seeking to reduce the 6.6 million tonnes of food wasted by UK households every year. The innovative six week trial is running with 55 households from across Britain. Families are testing a series of interventions, from help with meal planning to leftover-inspired cooking sessions with professional chefs, to help them reduce their food waste. Families are logging and weighing their food waste daily to understand which interventions have the greatest impact.  

The trial is taking place at a time when the UK lockdown has led to a dramatic change in the nation’s food habits. New polling commissioned by Tesco has revealed that food waste is down, more of us are finding ways to use our leftovers and cooking from scratch has significantly increased. 

The research, which surveyed 2,002 UK adults, found that the Covid-19 lockdown has led to 67% of us now feeling differently about food.  For almost a third of respondents (29%) Covid-19 has made them more aware of the value of food and 38% say lockdown, and the difficulties it has brought, has represented the single most important event in their lifetime when it comes to their relationship with food and food waste. 

The research also suggests that this ‘waste not, want not’ attitude is here to stay. More than a third (35%) of people reduced their food waste during lockdown and 75% have kept this up since restrictions have lifted. 61% are now cooking with leftovers every week, just under a third (32%) are planning their food shops more carefully to buy exactly what is needed or can be safely stored, and almost a quarter (22%) are batch cooking and freezing more. Only 3% of those who reduced food waste during lockdown say they don’t plan to continue these new habits in future. 

But despite these significant changes, a third of people don’t feel confident freezing or defrosting leftovers and a quarter waste food due to a lack ideas for using up leftovers or cut-offs, such as trimmings. The ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’ is committed to changing this by testing a range of interventions that can help families to cut food waste. Of the 55 participating families, 67% have said they are taking part to be greener, while 39% want to cut down on their food bills. 

Natalie Neighbour, a 40-year-old trial participant, said: “As a busy single mother to two teenage daughters, food waste has always presented a challenge – though my daughters have been pushing me to take more notice as to what we waste for a while. It can be hard to cook the right amount of food, plan for the week ahead and cook for occasionally fussy taste-buds! The trial is helping me cut down my food waste, which is good for my purse and better for the planet.” 

The results of the trial will be used by Tesco and Hubbub to give further advice, guidance and encouragement helping households across the UK reduce food waste which is costing the average UK family of four £60 a month. 

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