No-one wants to be caught short of edible treats at Christmas but research by consumer champions Which? has revealed that Brits are much more likely to buy more than they need.
In October this year, 45% of 1,362 Which? members polled said they overbought while just 14% admitted to running out of food or drink.
The main food item people bought too much of was cheese, with 20% saying they ended up with more than they needed. Biscuits (14%) and chocolate (13%) came next, both of which tend to be sold in family packs at this time of year.
Alcohol was the fourth most overbought item (11%), with beer and wine accounting for much of the excess. Wanting to offer plenty of choice to guests, people not drinking as much as anticipated or only having a little from a full bottle were among the reasons for leftover booze.
The top festive items people ran out of were mince pies, cream, vegetables and non-alcoholic drinks, followed by pigs in blankets, chocolate, cheese, biscuits, mulled wine and stuffing.
Check out these tips for preventing food and drink waste this Christmas – and what to do if you end up with leftovers:
- Pace yourself. Supermarkets tend to open most days in December so there’s no need to stock up.
- Think about the edible life of food. Before you buy, look at how long the food in question will be good for, and whether you have the space to store it. Limit foods you buy ‘just in case’.
- Check what you already have. Keep tabs on what you’ve got to avoid buying too much of one item. For example, use a space in your fridge for food that’s close to the end of its edible life rather than finding it hiding at the back when it’s too late.
- Make the most of your freezer. Many foods can be frozen so if you have overbought there’s no need to watch unused items perish. Don’t forget to label and date food to avoid ‘UFOs’ – unidentified frozen objects.
- Donate surplus food. This could be to friends, neighbours or even people you don’t know through food sharing apps. If you have unopened food, you could also consider donating it to your local foodbank. Check your local council or Trussell Trust website.