A selection of different coloured untrimmed carrots on a wooden surface

Loose fruit and vegetables to cut household food waste

20 March 2024

Marking the midway point in Food Waste Action Week, new Love Food Hate Waste report shows shoppers would like more opportunities to buy unpackaged fruit and veg.

As new data suggests 8.2 million shopping baskets of fruit and vegetables are wasted every year in our homes, because we’ve bought more than we can use in time, Love Food Hate Waste is encouraging people to choose what they’ll use and only buy what they need.

A new report published today by Love Food Hate Waste, as part of the fourth annual Food Waste Action Week, shows that 65% of shoppers would like to buy more loose fruit and veg if more were offered for sale.

Almost half (44%) said the top barrier to not buying loose was not enough loose fresh produce on offer. Moreover, people generally feel retailers could be doing more to provide a loose option with three in four (74%) UK citizens saying supermarkets should be doing more to sell fruit and veg without packaging. With most retailers selling some loose fruit and veg like potatoes, carrots and apples, Love Food Hate Waste is both looking to help retailers sell more fruit and veg loose, and calling on everyone to choose loose whenever they can. 

By choosing what we’ll use, we could:

  • Save households money by avoiding costly wasted food.
  • Prevent 60,000 tonnes of food waste (if all apples, potatoes and bananas were sold loose and not packaged).
  • Reduce plastic packaging by 8,800 tonnes per year.
  • Combined, this saves more than 80,000 tonnes CO2e.

In total in the UK, shoppers spend £17 billion every year on food that ends up in the bin – that’s the equivalent of £1,000 for a household of four, annually. That’s enough food to fill the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium EIGHT times over. The main reason for this waste is that the food was not used in time, and Love Food Hate Waste says selling loose will help households buy the right amount of food for them and avoid costly food waste.

Fruit and veg are the most wasted items in our homes and the scale of the problem is staggering. Everyday UK households dispose of approximately1:

  • 2.9 million whole potatoes
  • 2.1 million whole carrots
  • 1.4 million whole tomatoes 
  • 1 million whole bananas
  • 360,000 whole oranges  
  • 170,000 whole onions
  • 170,000 whole lettuces
  • 33,000 whole apples

With 60% of food waste in the UK coming from our homes, to help tackle this problem Love Food Hate Waste has teamed up with Gino D’Acampo to encourage people to embrace the mantra ‘Choose what you’ll use’ and only buy what’s right for them.

Commenting on the findings, Gino said: “It’s so easy to click into autopilot when we’re out shopping, but today’s report shows just how wasteful this habit can be when it comes to buying bulk packs of fruit and veg. Stepping away from the pre-packed produce and choosing what you’ll actually use will not only help tackle our food waste, but it will also help save money. And the best bit? You’ll have the perfect ingredients for your favourite dishes just the way you like them.”

Commenting on the research, Jackie Bailey, Senior Campaign Manager Love Food Hate Waste, said: “We know that choosing what we will use will significantly cut the amount of food ending up in the bin – now is the time for retailers and shoppers to make that a reality. Increasing loose fruit and veg offerings in store will not only help slash waste, reduce hard to recycle plastics, and stop tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2e emissions, it will also respond to what shoppers would like to see. It’s a win-win situation.”

Environment Minister Robbie Moore said: “I’m shocked that households are throwing away £1,000 a year in good food, as I’m sure many people will be too. That’s why I’m supporting this year’s Food Waste Action Week, which encourages us all to make a difference by sticking to buying only what we need in the fruit and veg aisles and making sure we use them up at home. We are committed to halving food waste by 2030 – which is why it’s so important to work together with the public and the food industry to take action on this critical issue.”

To find out more, and for Love Food Hate Waste’s easy hacks and serving suggestions visit: Love Food Hate Waste, Food Waste Action Week.



Love Food Hate Waste experts are available for broadcast interviews, briefings and comment – contact:

Notes to Editor

Love Food Hate Waste

Launched in 2007, Love Food Hate Waste is an awareness-raising campaign communicating the environmental and economic impacts of food waste to UK citizens. It shows that through easy practical everyday actions in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit the environment, and our pockets. Love Food Hate Waste exists to empower people to reduce food waste at home. Love Food Hate Waste is managed by 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.

Data sources:

1 Source: WRAP-Food-Surplus-and-Waste-in-the-UK-Key-Facts November-2023.pdf.

Nb. All other data cited in the release are from WRAP’s new ‘UNPACKING UNCUT FRESH FRUIT AND VEG: A UK BEHAVIOURAL INSIGHT STUDY’ report (published on 20th March).