Did you know that the average family household throws away £700 of food and drink every year (850,000 tonnes) – that’s the cost of a new TV or a designer handbag. Much of this waste could have been avoided if this food had been frozen instead of thrown out. Do you know how to use your freezer to save money?
To illustrate the issue, a 20-foot frozen billboard made entirely of ice and cash has been unveiled at Southbank, London to urge Brits to stop this costly waste.
The billboard contains £700 in notes and coins and was commissioned by iFreeze, iSave.
Made with more than four tonnes of ice, the billboard took a team over a month to freeze and a further eight days to build.
Showing Brits how their freezer can help put money back in their pocket, passers-by were able to collect the currency as the billboard melted throughout the day.
Watch the video here:-
The billboard follows new research conducted by iFreeze, iSave looking at how consumers use their freezer and the impact this has on Britain’s food waste.
The initiative to help encourage a change in habits is being spearheaded by Birds Eye and supported by Love Food Hate Waste, Hotpoint and the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).
Do you know how to use your freezer?
According to the findings, Britain’s freezers are often not being used the way they should! Almost two million (three per cent) put money in the freezer while a whopping 2.5 million (four per cent) use the freezer to store clothes.
Other items that have found their way into freezers include remote controls (one per cent) and household keys (one per cent).
The study found that 92 per cent of people in the UK are unaware that items such as eggs can be frozen (out of their shells) and over half (56 per cent) did not know that herbs could be kept in the freezer.
Despite one in five (21 per cent) shopping baskets in Britain containing at least 50 per cent frozen food, almost two million people throw away items in their freezer after two weeks believing they have gone off by this point.
Freezing habits around the UK
The study also found that:-
Brits aged 55 and over are the most freezer savvy when it comes to knowing what food can be frozen. Awareness was lowest amongst those under the age of 25
Nearly one in five women (19 per cent) believe that food can only be frozen for less than one month before being thrown away
Wales claims to be the least freezer savvy region, with three quarters (75 per cent) of those saying they are unaware that herbs can be frozen, and almost half (45 per cent) not realising that cooked meat can be kept in the freezer.
Almost a fifth of Welsh people (18 per cent) admitted to keeping clothes in their freezer
People in Northern Ireland claim to be the most freezer-friendly, with 100 per cent owning a freezer.
Seven per cent of people in the South East don’t own a freezer at all
Londoners claim to be easily the most wasteful, admitting that the main reason they throw food out of the freezer is that they can’t remember how long it has been there.
More than one in ten (12 per cent) bin food in their freezer after just two weeks (12 per cent)
So how can you use your freezer to save money?
Here are some top tips from food blogger Katie Bryson who is supporting the iFreeze, iSave initiative.
She also stars in Birds Eye’s ‘Mix Up Your Menu’ campaign launched earlier this year.
- To reduce costs, batch cook a large meal and freeze your leftovers to enjoy at a later date
- When buying more unusual ingredients, it’s likely that’ll you’ll have to buy larger portions than you need – don’t bin the leftovers, freeze them instead! Fresh herbs are a great example of this
- When freezing food, do so in realistic portions so as not to waste food once defrosted – for example, when buying a pack of frozen chicken breasts, freeze the chicken breasts in individual freezer bags so you can just cook just the one if you need to
- Frozen vegetables are your best friend! They offer so much versatility and can be used to accompany a range of meals – keep your freezer stocked up with frozen veg instead of fresh; it lasts longer and it’s more nutritious, too
- Save over-ripe bananas from the compost heap, just peel and chop and pop in a bag in the freezer. Perfect for smoothies straight from the freezer or once defrosted bake into a batch of banana bread
- Stock up on berries when they’re on offer or close to their sell-by date, freeze in small portions then use them to make smoothies or to sprinkle on yoghurt or ice-cream
- Bread keeps brilliantly in the freezer, so always have a supply of rolls, muffins, crumpets and sliced loaves in the freezer as it tends to go mouldy really quickly in a warm kitchen
- Freezing small cartons of fruit juice are brilliant little cool packs to put in your picnics at the beginning of the day. By lunchtime, they’ll have defrosted and be ready to drink, but will have kept your picnic nice and chilly
What would your top tips be? Do you know how to use your freezer to save money? And do you keep your clothes in your freezer?!
For more tips on how to stop wasting food, click here.