Events & News

The most commonly wasted foods in UK households (and how to rescue them) - 2020 update

Every year the average UK family throws away £730 worth of edible food! 

As today marks the final day of ‘Zero Waste Week 2020’, we thought we would share our favourite ways to help avoid the most commonly wasted foods hitting the bin. 

Being crafty with your food is the clever way to save money – and it really boils down to thinking before you throw. Potatoes and bread are food items most often wasted in the UK however, with a bit of preparation, your leftovers can create some delicious meals. 10 top tips coming right up!

At UKHarvest we do our best to help reduce the UK's waste by collecting surplus food and giving it to those who need it most. However, we as individuals also have a responsibility to minimise food waste and looking after our planet can be as simple as making a few small changes at home. 

Taking place every September, now in it’s 13th year, Zero Waste Week is a grassroots campaign aimed at raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste and empowering participants to help reduce the amount going to landfill.

Did you know?

If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after USA and China.


Potatoes are the number one most wasted food in the UK with 4.4 million potatoes wasted every day in British households. So how can you help reduce this crazy number?

1. Green and sprouting spuds - they're still good to eat, sprouting is just the eye of the potato looking to grow another potato (pretty cool we think!). Just chop off with the green bits and the rest is good to eat.

2. Store correctly - store spuds in a cool, dark and dry cupboard; out of light and out of your fridge

3. Bubble and squeak - traditionally a fried potato and cabbage dish, but in modern times a dish made from any leftover vegetables (especially from a Sunday roast). Try frying together potatoes, carrots, parsnips, peas, sweetcorn, the list is endless, you can also top with any leftover cheese or breadcrumbs.

4. Parboil and freeze – for a guaranteed crispy roast potato, prepare any extra potatoes, parboil and freeze in portions. Roast directly from frozen for a perfect accompaniment!

5. Potato salad – the sun is shining and a picnic or BBQ isn’t complete without a good old potato salad.


Bread is another most wasted food; 24 million slices, or 1 million loaves a day are wasted in the UK alone. An estimated 44% of this is thrown away because people do not get around to using it in time and worry it is stale, but this doesn’t mean if should end up in the bin! You could make…

1. Croutons – classically made from stale bread these little things will add crunch and flavour to any dish.

2. Blend it up – pop fresh or stale breadcrumbs in a food processor then freeze in a bag ready to liven up baked fish, one-pots or pasta bakes with a crisp breadcrumb topping. Alternatively use them to bind burgers and coat homemade fried chicken and fish fingers.

3. Bread sauce - Stale bread also makes the best Sunday dinner sauce. Double cream, a bay leaf and a bit of onion elevate a simple bread sauce to something essential for any roast poultry.

4. Toastie time! - Stale bread works just fine for toasties. Butter the sides, place on the pan or grill and wait for that golden brown colour and oozing centre we all love.

5. Bread and butter pudding – evolved out of necessity, as a means of using up leftover, stale bread at a time when food was scarce. Food historians trace bread pudding back to Europe in the early 11th and 12th centuries. The Hairy Harvesters love this dish and show you how to make this simple classic below.