94% of shoppers still binning food despite food waste concerns
Fruit is the food most often thrown out by households with the top three being bananas, apples and strawberries
17 August 2023
More than four in five Irish people are concerned about the level of food waste in their household, and 94% of homes are throwing food out, according to new research from SuperValu.
The research was commissioned as part of SuperValu’s Take Local Action, Make Global Impact campaign which aims to showcase the small actions we can all take in our homes, stores and towns to make a collective global impact. SuperValu believes how we live and work together in local communities is crucial to create a more sustainable future for everyone.
Ireland generated a massive 753,000 tonnes of food waste in 2021 according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of which 29% is from households amounting to a whopping 44kg of food waste per person on an annual basis*. Food waste costs the average Irish household about €700 per year. New research commissioned by SuperValu reveals 82% of people in Ireland are concerned about food waste in their household and 80% of those would like to reduce their food waste**.
Spoilage, expiration and overbuying are the three most common reasons for food waste in Irish households according to this research. SuperValu is demonstrating as part of its new campaign, Take Local Action, Make Global Impact, how collectively small lifestyle changes can lead to bigger global impacts – that includes the way we shop, store and use food to help reduce food waste. While most people are making a conscious effort to reduce their food waste only 44% said they do a weekly meal plan, 36% said they portion correctly and only 32% regularly use leftovers.
Correct waste segregation and recycling
Along with food waste, people living in Ireland produce more than 14 million tonnes of general waste every year in their homes, places of work and through leisure activities. SuperValu’s research shows that when people are unsure of how to recycle an item 74% dispose of it in the general waste disposal bin (i.e. black bin ) and only one in five people always read the recycling labels on the packaging before binning their rubbish.
The research also shows that a lack of awareness is causing an issue for recycling as the main barriers to recycling packaging correctly is confusion about how to treat mixed packaging materials, contamination of recyclables with other waste such as food and inconsistent recycling guidelines.
Speaking about the new initiative, head of Sustainability at SuperValu, Owen Keogh said: “At SuperValu we have an ambition to reach Net Zero carbon by 2040. Our stores have achieved a reduction of 9% in carbon emissions over the past year. At SuperValu we are committed to bringing sustainability into every area of our business and making it easier for our shoppers to make more sustainable choices.”
“Research shows that people want to make changes but sometimes don’t know where to start and that’s why we’ve launched our Take Local Action, Make Global Impact initiative,” he continued. “Across all our digital channels and in-store we will be encouraging and highlighting ways people can take small local actions that can contribute to a global impact; from recipes to help reduce food waste with recycling tips and highlighting in-store the extensive plant-based options and range of locally-sourced Irish products.”
*(Source: EPA waste data release, 27 July 2023. See https://www.epa.ie/our-
**(Source: Amarach research commissioned by SuperValu, July 2023. A nationally representative sample of 1,200 people were surveyed.)
***(Source: Sustineo impact report commissioned by SuperValu, June 2023)