Citizens and food waste as lockdown eases

29th July 2020

The second in a series of reports detailing how UK citizens’ food habits, behaviours and attitudes have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key findings
As lockdown has continued our positive food management behaviours have endured and extended.
70% of UK citizens want to maintain at least some of these behaviours post-lockdown.
But easing of lockdown could see increased levels of wasted food.
New Love Food Hate Waste campaign encourages UK citizens to 'Keep Crushing It.'

Reducing food waste is a financial and environmental imperative, and it is important to understand exactly how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting UK citizens’ habits, behaviours and attitudes relating to food. The lockdown is having a profound effect on citizens’ daily lives, including several significant and wide-reaching impacts on food behaviours.

Previous research by WRAP found that during the initial phase of lockdown, the foundations for stronger food management behaviours emerged with self-reported levels of food waste falling) compared to pre-lockdown levels.

The latest figures show a less positive picture where food waste is concerned. Levels have begun to rebound, although they remain significantly below pre-lockdown levels.

WRAP undertook this research, Food waste and Covid-19 - Survey 2: Lockdown easing, to track the impact of lockdown on household food waste. In particular, the research sought to understand how the phased lifting of restrictions might affect the way citizens plan, buy, store and waste food; and to explore the potential implications of any behavioural variations from the ‘norm’ on changes in levels of food waste. 

It was undertaken online from 17–23 June 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 4,000 UK adults aged 18+ with responsibility for food shopping and/or preparation.

Whilst the research shows how effective Love Food Hate Waste can be in helping citizens, it cannot succeed without significant and sustained support from retailers, brands, local authorities and others. WRAP is encouraging all organisations involved in food and drink to help amplify their campaign. The new Love Food Hate Waste campaign 'Keep Crushing It' launches on 7 August. Contact us to find out more.