Iglo Group, Europe’s largest frozen food company, yesterday launched a coalition with leading waste reduction charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP**),** with the objective of reducing food waste across Europe.
The coalition is launching iFreeze, a campaign which will highlight that European households waste an average of €260 of food every year (American homes each waste about $1,500 worth of food per year), and will provide advice and tips on how increased use of both freezing and frozen food can help to reduce waste and save money. The campaign is part of Iglo’s Forever Food Together (FFT) program, launched in October 2014.
Birds Eye, Iglo Group’s UK brand, will be the first company to launch the campaign in April, supported by WRAP, the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and Hotpoint (owned by the Whirpool Corporation), a leading brand of large home appliances, which will promote iFreeze in both the UK and other European markets at consumer events such as the Ideal Home Show and Good Food Show. The Group’s other leading food brands, Findus and Iglo, will launch education campaigns throughout 2015.
Iglo Group conducted research, which showed that 1 in 5 people throw away food because they’ve prepared, cooked or served too much (22%), or because they feel it has expired (20%). The research also found that consumers find existing food labels confusing. Over 71% of consumers think that throwing away food, which has passed its ‘best-before’ date, is wasteful. Meanwhile, only 33% of people considered food that had passed its ‘use-by’ date to be waste.
Iglo Group’s research also found that 50% of people don’t think they are wasting food if they throw away a sprouting potato. And only 24% would consider a cup of tea to count towards the food they throw away. WRAP’s research yielded similar results, finding that 5.8 million potatoes are discarded each day in the UK, and that drinks comprise 17% of total food waste. Both studies concluded that people are unknowingly wasting food.
Research results demonstrated to the Iglo Group that further education was required to encourage consumers to store and freeze food rather than throw it away. The Group plans to provide information through TV and print advertising, online tips and on-pack advice. Throughout 2015, the company plans to invest over €5m in iFreeze and will contribute to the Forever Food Together goal to inform consumers on at least one billion occasions by the end of 2020.
Iglo Group also plans to continue to take a collaborative approach and form further partnerships across Europe as it launches in other countries.
“Freezing, as a means of preservation, and frozen food both have the potential to play a key role in the fight against food waste and save consumers money,” said Andy Weston-Webb, UK MD, Iglo Group. “As Europe’s leading frozen food company, we should and can help educate consumers. Research shows that consumers want businesses to work with other organizations and forming this partnership with WRAP enables us to elevate this message. We’re delighted that Birds Eye is the first Iglo Group brand to launch iFreeze.”
WRAP has been working with Iglo on the iFreeze project using its industry experience, evidence based research and results on food waste.
“WRAP found that around 850,000 tonnes of good food goes to waste every year from our homes, which could have been eaten later if frozen,” said Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO, WRAP. “That’s throwing away enough food to fill Wembley stadium, food worth more than £3 billion. So it’s crucial to raise awareness and provide information on ways to prevent food waste, and WRAP is delighted to be working with Iglo. This partnership allows us to highlight the important role freezing can play in reducing food waste, and will help support our ambition to halve UK avoidable household food waste by 2025.”
WRAP also published a report earlier this month estimating that an increase on product life of just one day across a range of foods could prevent roughly 250,000 tons of food waste each year.