London: Almost 900,000 perfectly edible, freshly prepared meals end up in the bin in the UK every day, new figures reveal, because they haven’t been sold in time by restaurants and cafes.
This means that more than 320 million meals are thrown away by British food establishments every year — enough to feed everyone in the UK five times over, according to food waste app Too Good To Go .
While consumers are increasingly aware of the food wasted in their homes and by supermarkets, waste by restaurants is still largely overlooked. Figures from the government’s food waste advisory body Wrap state that the problem costs UK businesses more than £2.5 million (Dh12 million) every week.
The app — which allows users to “rescue” surplus meals at a discounted price — is calling on more food businesses and consumers to join forces to help cut waste.
“No one leaves the lights on when they leave the house,” said Hayley Conick, UK managing director at Too Good To Go. “Yet, whether it’s in restaurants, food shops or our own homes, we don’t think twice about throwing away perfectly good food.”
Separately, Britons are being urged to help cut their food waste at home by setting their fridges to a colder temperature to make fresh milk and other chilled foods last longer.
The advice from campaign group Love Food Hate Waste comes as a new survey revealed that half the UK population do not realise that their fridge should be set at below 5C to maximise its efficiency.
According to official figures from Wrap, £15 billion worth of edible food is binned by UK households every year, with incorrect storage cited as a major cause of waste.
That includes 290 million litres of milk poured down the sink every day. In a fridge set at the right temperature, milk — the country’s third most wasted food product after bread and potatoes — and other fresh foods can last three days longer.