Aerial image of a pile of food scraps and waste

Cost conscious consumers are adjusting household behaviours but untapped cost savings lie in food waste

29 September 2022

  • New study from WRAP and Hellmann’s shows that 45% of people say[1] they are throwing away the same amount of food or more per week than this time last year (AUS 42%, CAN 43% UK 48% US 47%).
  • 1 in 3 people report they throw away the equivalent to one shopping bag of food per week, despite food waste costing families approximately £780 per year (ALL- 31% AUS 30%, CAN 29% UK 29% US 34%).
  • 1 in 2 people say they would value more support to be more resourceful with their food (ALL- 47% AUS 49%, CAN 46% UK 44% US 48%).

This International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, Hellmann’s and WRAP have released a new four market study[1] on latest food waste behaviours. The study indicates that nearly half of respondents throw away as much food or more than they did this time last year[2], revealing an opportunity for consumers to save more by reducing waste in their homes. For 1 in 3 people, the amount of food they waste is equivalent to putting one shopping bag of food[3] in the bin each week (ALL 31% AUS 30% CAN 29% UK 29% US 34%).

Food waste is now costing Australia households $2170-$2,700 per year[i]Canada household $1,352 per year, UK families with children £780 per year and US families $1,900 per year. With 1 in 2 study respondents underestimating the cost savings of reducing their waste (ALL- 53% AUS 53%, CAN 50% UK 48% US 57%). 

And it isn’t just wallets that are left counting the cost when it comes to food waste - one-third of all food produced for human consumption globally is lost or wasted, contributing as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions[3] - and 61% of food waste happens in consumer homes[4].

Richard Swannell, International Director, WRAP “With this research we set out to uncover whether amidst the rising cost pressures for households, are people placing greater value on food and wasting less? Or is our waste just costing us more? According to our research, 85% of people report that their food bills have increased, however, people are still wasting the same amount of food (or more) than last year (AUS 85%, CAN 84% UK 87% US 84%). We were excited to see some people were wasting less food, but clearly too much good food is ending up in the bin. After years of research we understand that the barriers to reducing food waste are complex. However, easy, practical shifts in the home can make a big impact – not only to our wallets, but also to the planet.”

Through Love Food Hate Waste and Food Waste Action Week, WRAP helps people know what to do and to feel capable of doing it, to stop wasting food and mitigate climate change.

According to the study conducted among consumers in US, UK, Canada and Australia, people report that they are starting to take action to better plan their food in other ways:

  • 73% report they are using a shopping list (AUS 76%, CAN 74% UK 70% US 73%).
  • 62% are planning meals in advance (AUS 66%, CAN 61% UK 64% US 60%).
  • Over half (56%) report they are freezing fresh food (AUS 57%, CAN 58% UK 62% US 51%), as well as freezing leftover food (ALL 55% AUS 60%, CAN 58% UK 58% US 49%).

Respondents shared that they want to be more resourceful with their food, but they often don’t know where to start - 39% don’t know where to find helpful information when it comes to reducing food waste (AUS 43%, CAN 39% UK 37% US 37%).

As a brand committed to helping people enjoy great tasting food for the simple pleasure it is, without worry or waste, Hellmann’s wants to be a force for positive behaviour change, adding to the enjoyment of food, while inspiring people to be more resourceful with what they have on-hand.

Christina Bauer-Plank, Global Vice President of Hellmann’s “No one sets out with the intention of throwing good food away. Food waste happens as unintended outcome of people not having the time or energy to cook after a busy day, or not having the confidence or skill to make a meal out of the ingredients they find in their fridges. But from our research, we know that people want to be resourceful with their food, and waste less – they just need some help. At Hellmann’s, we believe great taste has the power to shift behaviour – after all, when food tastes great, less of it goes to waste. Through our work with WRAP, we want to help people recognise the scale of the opportunity to waste less food and arm them with the tools to make the most of the food they have on-hand.”

When asked, 59% of people said they would like brands to help them be more resourceful with food (AUS 60%, CAN 60% UK 57% US 59%).

Through its Fridge Night programme, Hellmann’s offers simple, practical solutions to help people be more resourceful with the food they have at home. By keeping track of their food waste, in combination with using the Fridge Night tools, families can reduce their food waste by up to 33%.

Fridge Night was developed in partnership with behavioural scientists BEworks and other leading food waste experts. They uncovered that simple interventions that help people think differently about the ingredients they already have in their home can drive positive behaviour change that can help save money, food and ultimately, the environment. Interventions include: 

  • A weekly Use-Up Day when people create a meal with left-behind ingredients – unused ingredients in their home that might otherwise end up in the bin.  
  • Use of Hellmann’s Flexipes – simple, flexible recipes that use our unique 3+1 approach to create delicious meals with the food they have on hand.
  •  The "3+1" framework uses everyday ingredients across different categories: a carbohydrate base, most-wasted vegetables or fruit, a source of protein, plus a ‘magic touch’ in the form of herbs, spices or a sauce to bring a dish together.  

Fridge Night is available for free in the form of an e-booklet or app to download in the US, Canada, and UK. The goal is to extend the programme’s reach and help millions of people make taste, not waste.

Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste. This International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, let’s enjoy great tasting food for the simple pleasure it is, without worry or waste.


Notes to Editor

Notes to editor 

[1] Hellmann’s x WRAP Study, 2022 (all findings self-reported)

[1] UK, US, Canada, and Australia

[1] Hellmann’s x WRAP Study, 2022 (all findings self-reported)

[1] Counted as one standard size shopping bag

[1] Families with children

[1] Food surplus and waste in the UK, WRAP, 2021 Inflation adjusted

[1] UN Environment Program Food Waste Index Report, 2021

[1] Of the food waste occurring in retail, food service and household, 61% happens in consumer homes (UNEP Food Waste Index 2021).

About WRAP

WRAP is a climate action NGO working around the globe to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. Our vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem. We believe that our natural resources should not be wasted and that everything we use should be re-used and recycled. We bring together and work with governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. Our core purpose is to help tackle climate change and protect our planet by changing the way things are produced, consumed and disposed of. 

About Hellmann’s

Hellmann’s is committed to helping people enjoy great tasting good for the simple pleasure it is, without worry or waste. For over a century, the brand has helped people turn even the simplest ingredients into delicious meals. Hellmann’s believes in the power of taste, because when food tastes good, less of it gets wasted. This belief has driven Hellmann’s to be a force for positive behaviour change around household food waste. Hellmann’s partnered with experts to conduct one of the longest and largest consumer behaviour studies on household food waste working with 2,000 families in Canada and the US gathering insights to help consumers better use the food they already have at home and to waste less. Hellmann’s will continue to champion household food waste reduction through its “Make Taste Not Waste” campaigns, inspiring people to turn their left-behinds into easy, tasty meals. The past year alone, Hellmann’s has been able to inspire more than 200 million people across the US, Canada and the UK.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day. It has 148,000 employees and generated sales of €52.4 billion in 2021. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. It has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world – including iconic global brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, Knorr, Magnum, OMO and Surf; and other brands such as Love Beauty & Planet, Hourglass, Seventh Generation and The Vegetarian Butcher.