Url: https://www.johnlewispartnership.media/news/waitrose/15122022/nearly-13-of-festive-food-shop-ends-up-in-the-bin?brand=waitrose

Nearly 13% of festive food shop ends up in the bin

  • A recent survey by Waitrose showed that many of us waste more food than usual during the festive season
  • 41% said they would be more creative with their leftovers if they had some inspiration
  • Sandwiches were voted the most popular leftover dish, followed by a curry, bubble and squeak and soup 

A poll of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas found nearly one in three (31 per cent) admit to wasting more food than usual at this time of year – as 61 per cent overbuy to make sure they don’t run out.

And 16 per cent find it difficult to judge just how much they need to see them through.

But in a bid to curb the amount of food which gets chucked away, 35 per cent are going to force down foods they don’t particularly like.

While 38 per cent will be giving leftovers for their guests to take away with them, 41 per cent will try to get creative in the kitchen to use up their leftovers.

With sandwiches being the most popular leftover dish, 39 per cent like to spice things up on Boxing Day with a curry, 36 per cent turn to the traditional bubble and squeak, and 31 per cent chuck their leftovers into a hearty soup. 

The research was commissioned by Waitrose as part of its campaign to help halve UK household food waste by 2030, and to help customers saving money and taking care in their meal planning this Christmas, chefs from the supermarket have come up with their top tips to make the most of festive leftovers.

Zoe Simons, senior brand development chef at Waitrose, said: “Getting ready for the big day can be a stressful and exciting time, especially now we’re able to host family and friends once again after the pandemic. But both of these factors can cause people to buy much more food at Christmas than they actually need – and inevitably, a proportion of this unfortunately finds its way into the bin."

“It’s encouraging to learn that so many are taking care to reduce what they waste, particularly at Christmas and we want to help where we can. That’s why we’ve come up with some simple and exciting ways to give people the impetus to work up something special with what may typically have been thrown away.”

The research found potatoes, carrots and pigs in blankets are the most popular foods households have on Christmas Day, followed by sprouts and turkey. 

With such an array of different foods left behind, 49 per cent would be more likely to cook with their leftovers if they had more inspiration in the kitchen.

When quizzed more generally about food waste, 27 per cent recognised their household had a problem with it, but 48 per cent said their awareness of the issue has increased over the last five years. But the study, carried out via OnePoll, found 54 per cent believe food waste is a major issue we need to tackle together as a society. 

Zoe Simons added: “As tends to be the case with environmental issues, there are often small changes we can make at home which can make a difference. Nobody buys food with the intention of throwing it in the bin but with UK homes discarding 4.5million tonnes of it every year, there are little steps you can take to reduce this waste.  

“From planning your meals carefully over the Christmas period to ensure you’re buying the right amount for the number of people you’re hosting, to how you store your food. We’ve also made it easier for our customers by selling oddly shaped vegetables as well as forgotten cuts of meat - and we’re continuing to work closely with FareShare to donate surplus food to vulnerable families across the UK.”


Thrifty tips from Waitrose chefs

  • Take time to plan, consider how many people you are cooking for, how many meals you will be expected to prepare, factor in that some of those meals will be perfect for the leftovers of your main Christmas meal.  
  • Think ahead and store items in the freezer throughout December that you can use on the day, such as scraps of bread for bread sauce or veg peelings that you use throughout the month to make stock and gravy. 
  • Buying your fruit and vegetables loose not only helps in reducing packaging waste you can buy the exact quantities that you need.  
  • Leftovers from the main meal can be blitzed gently in a food processor (think roasted carrots, parsnips and potatoes, along with some of the turkey) then combined with an egg - formed into croquette shapes and coated with breadcrumbs - air fry until crispy for a tasty boxing day nugget, perfect for dipping into leftover gravy

If you need help working out quantities per person here’s an estimate:

  • Green vegetables: large handful per person
  • Roots (carrots/parsnips): 2 per person 
  • Potatoes: 1 large potato per person (with maybe an extra thrown in for every 4th person as you don't want to be short on roasties!)

Contact Details:

For more information please contact:
Sophie Somers - [email protected]

About the John Lewis Partnership 
The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch.


Waitrose & Partners has 331 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 59 convenience branches, 27 shops at Welcome Break locations, and Waitrose.com - its fast-growing online shopping business, consistently rated highly by independent research. The retailer combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. As part of an employee-owned business, all Partners have a say in how the business is run.