Brits waste a fortune in pre-holiday clearout

Emma Woollacott
She can't decide what to eat
She can't decide what to eat

It's on most of our pre-holiday to-do lists, along with cancelling the milk and the newspapers - clearing out the fridge of anything likely to go off.

But according to some research from Sainsbury's, we're overdoing it, and wasting a lot of money as a result.

See also: Five ways to reduce food waste and save money

See also: Hundreds of pounds of food binned by Tesco on Christmas Eve

British households now throw away an average of £9.82 worth of edible food before leaving for a holiday, with a third binning £20 or more.

An astonishing eight out of ten of us insist on completely clearing out the fridge ahead of a summer break – and a third even get rid of jars and bottles of condiments known to last for months.

One in ten still buy an entire week's shop in the run-up to a holiday – despite knowing they won't be around to eat it.

"We've all been there – the run-up to summer holidays can be busy with a seemingly never-ending 'to-do' list before we get to relax on that sun-lounger, and knowing what to do with the food in our fridge is just one more thing to think about," says Paul Crewe, head of sustainability engineering and energy at Sainsbury's.

So how can you cut down on food waste before your holiday?

Planning and preparing meals ahead of holidays will help to cut down waste when you leave - and you can even prepare extra meals to freeze.

You can freeze pretty much anything, even wine - pour it into an ice cube tray and you'll have it handy for cooking. You can freeze milk, too.

Blanch or steam fresh vegetables, then cool them quickly in ice before freezing to save the flavour and texture. Soft herbs like basil, mint and parsley don't hold up well frozen, so chop and mix them with olive oil and freeze them in an ice cube tray.

One clever trick is to pop frozen fruit into a freezer bag with a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt - then it's ready to blend for a smoothie. Bananas can be frozen with their skins on.

And if you don't manage to get round to any of this, check with your friends if they can use any of your food - or see if you have a community fridge for charity in your area.

The top 10 food and drinks we throw away before a holiday

1. Milk (54%)
2. Bread (48%)
3. Bags of salad (43%)
4. Fresh fruit (35%)
5. Fresh meat and fish (35%)
6. Fresh vegetables (34%)
7. Processed meats (28%)
8. Fresh juice (24%)
9. Opened wine (24%)
10. Dips and sauces (23%)