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Hubbub urges East Anglia to get savvy about food waste

A family in East Anglia try out Hubbub's food waste challenge
A family in East Anglia try out Hubbub's food waste challenge
A new food waste campaign, #FoodSavvy, has been launched by behaviour change experts Hubbub in East Anglia to help Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils reduce their food waste.

In both counties, approximately a third of residual waste is made up of food and drink – 40 per cent of which is still in its packaging.

Yet a survey conducted by Hubbub found that residents in the region have a real hunger to combat food waste; 86 per cent of residents are concerned about food waste, whilst 53 per cent admit they feel guilty when they throw away food.

The research also unearthed shopping and food storage problems which, if altered, could assist in saving both money and food waste:

  • More than six in 10 residents don’t plan their meals before shopping;
  • 30 per cent of shoppers don’t look in the fridge before shopping;
  • 31 per cent don’t store potatoes in a cool, dark place, meaning they go off quicker; and
  • Many residents don’t realise that popular fridge staples can be frozen, as 41 per cent have never frozen milk.

It is hoped that through the Food Savvy campaign, residents will take greater responsibility for the food they consume and subsequently dispose of, reducing waste and freeing up resources, as well as becoming more responsible for their own health by reducing portion sizes.

Resource spoke to Rob Cole, Suffolk Waste Partnership Manager, about how the campaign could involve the whole community. He explained: “We want to work with residents, schools, businesses, bloggers, vloggers and community groups wherever we can. Only by working across society can we make a real difference. As such, we will be engaging with people across both county areas in every way we can, both online and offline, encouraging them and their employers to get involved.”

Hubbub has organised a range of events with both counties that are coming up over the following months, such as the £70 Food Savvy

Meal planner provided to residents as part of the Food Waste challenge
Meal planner provided to residents as part of the Food Waste challenge
Challenge, aimed at assisting residents with planning and preparing meals in advance. The charity is also encouraging people to take part in the upcoming Grandparents’ Day on 2 October, whereby both old and young can share cooking knowledge – research has found that the older generation are better at food saving, with 40 per cent of over 65s saying they never waste food.

Suffolk will be holding a six week intergenerational cooking course, whilst Norfolk’s Plan, Eat, Save team is inviting residents to a day of cooking together. There will also be a Halloween-themed ‘Pumpkin Rescue’ event, to reuse the pumpkins frequently discarded after carving. Meanwhile, community fridges will be opening throughout Suffolk.

Campaigns like #FoodSavvy can help to tackle the throwaway culture that sees approximately 10 million tonnes of food wasted every year in the UK, whilst also helping families save up to £70 per month by reducing food wastage.

A ‘tough challenge’

Previous campaigns have shown that it is a complex process to change cooking and eating behaviour, with householders not always willing to take responsibility for food waste.

The 2015 Waste Less Save More campaign from Sainsbury’s, a £10-million commitment over a five year period, was dropped in May this year after the trial in Swadlincote only reduced food waste by nine per cent. After setting an initial target of 50 per cent reduction in food waste, Sainsbury’s reported that “our customers’ priorities have changed and broadened”.

Cole acknowledged the difficulty of changing behaviours relating to food, saying: “Food waste is a tough challenge and we recognise that. In the short term, we want to spark a food waste discussion across Norfolk and Suffolk, raising Food Savvy’s profile and really getting people talking about the choices they make and how they can make a real difference, both for the environment and their own bank balances.

“Longer term we hope the campaign will deliver a measurable reduction in the amount of food waste generated across Norfolk and Suffolk, saving people money and benefitting council budgets.”

Hubbub and the two councils also hope that the campaign will help in achieving the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a programme from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) that aims to reduce waste nationally by 20 per cent.

Hubbub is inviting any organisation wishing to test different ways of cutting food waste in get in touch. If you live in Norfolk or Suffolk, or just want to have a few more tips on how to reduce your food wastage, find out how you can get involved on the Food Savvy website.

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