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Top five most wasted foods (and ways to save them from the bin)

Does the thought of wasting food make your blood boil? It certainly does for us!


Hugh’s been on a mission to change the way we think about waste, by challenging the supermarkets and fast food industry to drastically reduce the amount of waste they generate.

But the buck doesn’t just stop with big businesses; we have a responsibility as individuals to reduce our food waste. It’s estimated that 7 million tonnes of household food waste is thrown away each year in the UK, most of which could have been eaten.

Want to stop the rot and prevent good food from going to landfill? Here’s our list of the top five most wasted foods and how to use them up.

#1 Bread

Over 240 million slices of bread are chucked away every year. Bread freezes really well, particularly for toast, so make sure you pop in the freezer if you're not going to use it. Stale bread can be turned into croutons, breadcrumbs, eggy bread or even bread & butter pudding.

Recipe ideas: marmalade pudding | bread and butter pudding.

#2 Milk

Around 5.9 million glasses of milk are poured down the sink every year, but it's so easy to use it up. You can use large quantities of milk in a fruit smoothie, béchamel sauce or make rice (or barley) pudding. If your milk is on the turn have a go at curd cheese or paneer.

Recipe ideas: rice pudding | oaty banana drop scones

#3 Potatoes

We discard 5.8 million potatoes each year. Store potatoes in a dark place so they last longer. If they have been hanging around for a while, cook them all up and freeze in portions. Make potato cakes, fishcakes or gnocchi with leftover mash and bubble & squeak with leftover roasties. Par-boiled potatoes can be sliced and sautéed for a quick supper or roasted to make potato wedges (which can be cooked & frozen).

Recipe ideas: potato dauphinoise | three-root boulangere.

#4 Cheese

Cheese lasts a very long time, so there really is no excuse if you chuck it away! If it’s mouldy just scrape it off and use the rest in cooking. Cheese sauce is easy, just make a béchamel and add leftover scraps of any cheese - essential for lasagne, macaroni or cauliflower cheese and lots of other favourites. Finally, most cheese can be frozen.

Recipe ideas: apple, guiness and cheese soda bread | spinach and thyme pasties.

#5 Apples

A staggering 1.3 million apples are thrown away each year. To make them last longer, store in a cold, dark and well-ventilated place - make sure they aren't touching each other and they are clean and dry.

Recipe ideas: apple snow | appley Chelsea buns.

Inspired to do more? Sign Hugh’s War on Waste pledge to reduce your waste and urge supermarkets to do the same.

Thanks to Love Food, Hate Waste for the statistics.