74 million mince pies thrown away every Christmas

Waste less with Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste's 12 Days of Christmas food waste tips.

Every Christmas, British consumers throw away an estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million.

Christmas puddings, according to Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste1.

With a Christmas food bill averaging £1692 per household and over a third (35%)3 of us admitting to throwing away more food at Christmas than at any other time of year,Unilever is partnering with Love Food Hate Waste to help 12 families across the UK to cut down on their food waste in the run up to and over Christmas. The families are taking part in the Unilever Sustain Ability Challenge where they are being challenged to reduce the amount of food they throw away by a quarter and to cut their grocery bills by 15 per cent.

The average weekly grocery bill has risen by £5.604 since last year and disposable incomes are currently under pressure. Seven out of ten adults believe that it costs more to lead a sustainable lifestyle5 so by challenging the 12 families to throw away less food, Unilever aims to bust this myth and prove that it in fact can help them save money.

As 62% of adults say a lack of knowledge about what they can do to live more sustainably prevents them from living a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle6, Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste are sharing advice and recipes with households across the UK to help them make the most of leftovers and store food cleverly in the run up to Christmas.

Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste have worked closely to pull together 12 simple ways to reduce the amount of food being thrown away at such a wasteful time of year because it is not only detrimental to our wallets, it is bad for the environment too. The tips aim to help people save on their grocery bill by planning carefully, storing food sensibly and cooking cleverly, leaving them with more money for all of those Christmas gifts and January sales.

12 top tips to help you waste less this Christmas from Unilever & Love Food Hate Waste:

  1. Left with too much stilton cheese once the festivities are over? Did you know that it freezes well and last for ages in the freezer? Defrost it in the New Year for the cheese board, a quiche or soup.
  2. Cooked meat like turkey and ham can be frozen so if on Boxing Day you have lots left over, pop it in the freezer and then thaw it in the fridge when you fancy making a casserole, curry, stew or ham, turkey and leek pie.
  3. Sick of Christmas pudding? Try turning it into a tasty strudel.
  4. Loads of sprouts leftover? Use them with leftover roast or boiled potatoes to make bubble and squeak. Simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.
  5. Bought too much mincemeat? Heat a small amount in a pan and spoon over ice-cream for an alternative Christmas pudding.
  6. Use up satsumas with this quick pudding. Peel and place the whole fruits in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon, spoon over a tablespoon of Cointreau or whisky and sprinkle with soft brown sugar. Cover and bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 40 minutes serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.
  7. Control your portions and minimise your food waste when cooking Christmas dinner with this simple formula. Simply multiply it by the number of people you are hosting: Adult: 140g turkey + 2 tablespoons carrots + 2 florets cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1 parsnip Child: 100g turkey + 1 tablespoon carrots + 1 floret cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1/2 parsnip.
  8. Get ahead of the food preparation by preparing roast potatoes and parsnips. Just parboil them, cover them in fat and freeze them. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags, seal, label and return to the freezer.
  9. Leftover fruitcake you don’t know what to do with? Add a spot of mayonnaise, custard and Flora, along with a sprinkling of sugar, to make a delicious fruity bread pudding.
  10. Collect sandwich crusts in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Once you’ve got enough, whizz them in a food processor and use them for making the Christmas bread sauce or keep for toppings.
  11. Make these spicy nuts out of any half opened packets of nuts. Take a mixture of brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and put them in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over ½ tsp each of cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper and 2 tsp caster sugar. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake for 15 min. Cool before storing in air tight jars or tupperware containers. They will keep fresh in a screw top jar until the big day.
  12. Have a rummage around your kitchen cupboards; you might be surprised that you can make free foodie gifts from packets of sea salt and sugar. To make spicy salt, add a few dried chillies, red peppercorns and star anise to the sea salt and put into a nice jar and decorate with ribbons. For spicy sugar, add cinnamon sticks to a jar of coffee sugar and dress up in a pretty jar.
  13. Nora Costello, brand building director, Unilever UK and Ireland says, “We live in a time of economic uncertainty and it’s a fact of life that most people in the UK have less money to spend. Although weekly household budgets have been falling, people’s aspirations haven’t fallen with them and they still want to have a great Christmas.

    “We want to help people to do this and Unilever is supporting 12 families across the UK to test practical ways to adapt their daily routines in order to reduce their impact on the environment and cut their household bills. 

    We’re sharing our tips to help households as Christmas can be an excessive time of year- it’s really easy to buy too much food, cook too much and thoughtlessly throw it away when it goes off or doesn’t get eaten. We hope that we can help people to learn to waste less this year, and in turn to make a difference to their wallets and to the environment.”

    Kathy Cope is a 39 year old mother of two who lives in Woolton Village, Liverpool and she is taking part in Unilever's Sustain Ability Challenge. She says, “Christmas is definitely the most wasteful time of year for us. I overbuy because I want everything to be perfect. It’s hard to get portions right and I don’t want to appear stingy so I always cook far too much.

  14. “Now that I’m taking part in the Unilever Sustain Ability Challenge, the thought of throwing lots of food away on Boxing Day this year fills me with dread as I’m really conscious of the amount of money it means I am wasting, plus it’s so bad for the environment. If I can save a bit of extra cash this Christmas there’ll be more of it to spend in the January sales so I’m going to do my best!”

Media enquiries:

Alicia Edmonds-Smith, Blue Rubicon: 020 7260 2700 /Unilever@bluerubicon.com

Unilever UK & Ireland media enquiries: 01372 945925/07785 450287


Notes to Editors

1Stats from WRAP state that we waste 20% of the food we buy. According to the Institute of engineering and technology, in the UK we’ll buy some 10 million turkeys, take home around 370 million mince pies and 25 million Christmas puddings:

20% of 10 million turkeys = 2 million

20% of 370 million mince pies = 74 million

20% of 25 million Christmas puddings = 5 million

2TNS omnibus people’s perspective, October 2011

3Figures from WRAP

4Stats from the consumer magazine, Which? published in September 2012

5The Futures Company research:The Futures Company’s Global MONITOR survey 2012, an annual study into consumer attitudes and values across 21 markets, with a sample of 1,975 consumers in the UK.

6The Futures Company research:The Futures Company’s Global MONITOR survey 2012, an annual study into consumer attitudes and values across 21 markets, with a sample of 1,975 consumers in the UK.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 171,000 colleagues around the world, and we are on track to generate annual sales of €50 billion in 2012. 

Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (56% in 2011). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil , Dove, Hellmann’s, TRESemmé, Lipton, Sure, Wall’s and Lynx.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals are more than 50 time-based targets. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and for the second year topped the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan / SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012). The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit Unilever.

About Love Food Hate Waste

Love Food Hate Waste aims to help raise awareness of the issue of food waste and provide simple, easy steps to help us all waste less food and save money – up to £50 for the average family. For more information go to www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.

UK & Ireland Corporate press enquiries

For Unilever UK & Ireland corporate press enquiries, please contact the UK press office on the number or email below:

T: UK +44 (0)01372 945925
F: UK +44 07785 450287


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