A new study has revealed that the cookery styles encouraged by high profile chefs are unlikely to reduce the nation’s huge amount of food waste generated by British households.
Dr David Evans, a member of the University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute, claims that the desire to eat a wide range of meals coupled with the drive to prepare more dishes from scratch can result in more food waste.
Dr Evans studied nineteen Manchester households during the course of eight months in an attempt to understand why the nation throws away over eight million tonnes of food waste each year.
Dr Evans watched people prepare, cook and shop for food and also asked them to discuss the contents of their cupboards, fridges and freezers. He claims that whilst consumers are often blamed for lacking the ability to cook or not caring enough about wasting food, he found nothing in his study to support this view.
The research suggests that people don’t generally need cookery courses but do sometimes find it hard to make use of leftovers. This is particularly true when the family contains are fussy eaters who often prefer established recipes to more improvised meals.
Dr Evans argues that the current volumes of household food waste should be considered as the result of people negotiating the contradictory and complex demands of everyday life. He believes that the pressure from celebrity chefs to eat and cook in certain ways inevitably leads to a greater risk of food waste.
Most food advocated by celebrity chefs is perishable and therefore should be eaten fairly quickly. Our unpredictable leisure schedules and working hours make it more difficult to make best use of the food in our cupboards and fridges.
Dr Evans believes that those with influence including celebrity chefs should recognize the issues and consider how to make it desirable or at least socially acceptable for people to use frozen vegetables or eat the same dish for several consecutive nights.