In this report, we gather evidence on the food waste attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of UK households through a series of citizen surveys carried out during 2022. The publication is part of the largest and longest running series of its kind, having been undertaken by WRAP since 2007.  

The latest results cover a period when the UK began to settle into a ‘new normal’ after all Covid-19 restrictions ended in February 2022, followed immediately by an evolving cost-of-living crisis. It was another year of adjustment in the daily routines of many UK citizens, including working patterns, feelings of time pressure and eating habits, which all appear to influence food waste.

Key findings on the rising cost of living and concerns about food

The research recorded an immediate impact of the cost of living on concerns about food. The proportion of citizens that cite food prices as a ‘top five’ concern rose sharply, from 52% in November 2021 to 74% in November 2022.

The number of citizens who are concerned about being able to buy enough food also increased in 2022, from less than one in five (18%) to one in four (25%) citizens over the year to November 2022.

UK citizens are making widespread changes to their food habits to mitigate rising living costs. In November 2022, seven in ten (71%) reported changes to how they buy, store, manage or use food because of the rising cost of living, up from 65% in June.

With 21% of people saying that they have used leftovers as a response to the cost-of-living crisis and of those, 88% said that by doing this it helped them to save money and 62% said it helped them to save time.

Key findings on self-reported food waste

Despite rising concerns about the cost-of-living crisis and the number of behaviour changes citizens are taking, there has not – so far at least – been the sharp fall in food waste that happened during the first Covid-19 lockdown. In fact, in 2022, the reported level of food waste continued its shallow upward trend that started in the pandemic recovery period.

It's worth noting, while not included in this report, further research undertaken by WRAP in January and March 2023 found that despite food waste declining in January, this was not sustained in March, with food waste rising once again.

Help us combat food waste

Lend us your voice and encourage citizens to take action to reduce their household food waste, by supporting our research-based Love Food Hate Waste campaigns and messages.

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  • Food Trends 2022 - Full Report

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  • Food Trends 2022 - Summary

    PDF, 514.46 KB