Food waste fears impacting eating occasions

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Fears over food going out of date is significantly consumer meal occasions. Image: Getty, zoranm
Fears over food going out of date is significantly consumer meal occasions. Image: Getty, zoranm
Brits are turning down plans to eat out over fears that food at home will go out of date, according to new research by online retailer Ocado.

The retailer found that one in three (34%) of consumers turned down plans to eat with friends because they were worried about their food going off at home. This ‘fear of going off’ (FOGO) has sparked guilt in three out of five consumers (72%), while more than half (59%) admitted they worried about their food going off at least on a weekly basis.

This feeling of guilt has negatively affected meal preparation in the home, as consumers begin hiding the sell-by dates and expired food from their partners (44%). More than half of consumers (52%) said they had reluctantly based their meals around ingredients that need using up.

Expiring food

The impending fear of expiring food is also affecting Brits’ shopping behaviours, as over half of Brits (58%) admitted their food shopping choices are dictated by ‘consume-by dates’.

Frustration over expiration dates is helping to fuel FOGO – almost two thirds of Brits (64%) said they were often disappointed with how long their fresh food lasted.

What’s more, more than a third of Brits (36%) said they had to make return visits to the shops due to their produce going off quicker than expected, with the most common culprits being salad leaves (43%), bread (34%) and soft fruits (33%).

‘Money out the window’

Laura Harricks, Ocado chief customer officer, said: “We know how frustrating it can be when food goes off before you were expecting; it can throw meal plans out the window and as this study reveals, social plans and money too.

“We want to help the nation fight against FOGO and, with the Ocado Fresh+ Promise, give people peace of mind, so they can spend a little less time worrying about the food in their fridge and more time enjoying it.”

Meanwhile, British consumers admit to blindly binning food due to a lapsed best before date,​ according to research by surplus marketplace Too Good To Go.

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