The average American spends nearly $3,000 a year on unused groceries, according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 adults found that, on average, household grocery shoppers spend $248 on groceries a week, with one in 10 saying they spend even more, more than $500.
Of that, people typically end up throwing away about $63 worth of groceries weekly.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HelloFresh, the survey found that when respondents cook, a quarter of them “always” or “often” prepare more food than they can finish, usually with the intention of having leftovers (83%). . .
On average, people have leftovers to put in their fridges three times a week; however, they do not always get to spend them.
Nearly a third of Americans admit they are likely to forget about leftovers once they’re out of sight (32%).
Forgetting food is one of the top reasons people end up wasting food (35%), along with leftovers that aren’t popular with their household members (23%).
While 43% prefer to eat leftovers until they are finished, a quarter of those surveyed admitted that they get tired of eating the same thing before they can finish (24%).
“With inflation contributing to record food costs, wasting groceries every week hurts both the environment and consumers’ wallets,” said Jeffrey Yorzyk, senior director of sustainability at HelloFresh. “Families cook with the best intention of using up their leftovers, but our research shows that they typically don’t consume all of those leftovers. Getting creative with the food in your fridge can help families feel like they are eating something new and exciting!
And 38% revealed that they threw away food simply because they didn’t feel like eating it after buying it.
Waste starts even before shoppers get home, as a fifth of respondents shared that they often overestimate the amount of food they will use when grocery shopping (19%).
In fact, 23% of people who go grocery shopping end up buying at least five foods a week that they wish they could get in smaller amounts, like bunches of grapes or strands of herbs.
With these foods, a similar percentage (22%) aren’t sure they know the best ways to store food to maximize freshness.
According to respondents, the most difficult foods to consume are lettuce (27%), bananas (23%), and milk (21%).
35% of those surveyed said they throw away more food than they would like and most admitted they feel guilty when this happens (73%).
As a result, seven in 10 are trying to reduce food waste in hopes of saving money (60%), less waste (52%), and making food more available to those who need it (26%).
Some of the ways people have considered reducing food waste are using leftovers creatively (55%), creating a meal plan (37%), or composting (17%).
Although people want to reduce food waste, only a quarter of those surveyed currently compost their leftovers.
“We are inspired by the fact that 70% of people care about food waste,” Yorzyk said. “Cooking with meal kits that provide pre-portioned ingredients, composting food waste, and using ‘ugly’ produce are all great ways to help you reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.”
THE MOST DIFFICULT INGREDIENTS/FOOD TO EAT
1. Lettuce — 27%
2. Bananas — 23%
3. Milk — 21%
4. Apples — 21%
5. Bread — 21%
6. Avocado — 17%
7. Deli (meat, cheese, prepared foods, etc.) — 16%
8. Eggs — 16%
9. Meat — 15%
10. Carrots — 14%
HelloFresh commissioned this randomized, dual-participation survey of 2,000 Americans from the general population between March 23-27, 2023. It was conducted by a market research company A pollwhose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR).