September 28/London/Packaging Europe -- Half of the respondents to a six monthly consumer survey of over 1000 people claim to be throwing away a lot less or a little less food. Only 1% are throwing away more, and food waste is mostly due to buying more fresh produce and not eating it all.

The survey also looked at how important environmental issues are to consumers with the majority, 86%, concerned about food waste and an equal number wanting to see packaging waste reduced. Using packaging which can be recycled, reuse or bio-degraded was important to 81% of the respondents.

Shoppers also supported the food industry using new technologies and initiatives to reduce environmental impact. Reducing energy use in production and distribution was important to 75%. Using ingredients from sustainable sources such as the marine stewardship certification was important to 73% followed by reducing carbon emissions (68%), reducing water use (68%), using scientific developments (66%) and transporting products from abroad by rail rather than road (61%).

When looking at responsibility for wasted food, 67% think it is down to the individual/family, 28% think it a shared responsibility of the individual/family and food industry and 6% feel it is the responsibility of the food industry.

Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director of Communications Terry Jones said, “We are really encouraged by these figures that show we are not wasting as much food as we were a year ago. Around 5.3million tons of perfectly good food is thrown out each year, costing around £12 billion, which is a waste of resources and money. Shoppers have good intentions and are buying fresh produce in order to eat healthily but often this goes to waste. It can be avoided by menu planning and using a good mix of fresh and frozen products and there is lots of good advice from organizations on making food go further.

“We are also pleased to see that shoppers are still interested in the environment and want to see more done to reduce energy and water use and source sustainable raw materials. The food industry has been doing a lot to resolve this and is now sending less than 10% of its food waste to landfill.”

 From the September 29, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.