The Co-operative Food - Packaging to Reduce Food Waste

£60… that’s the average amount of money that a family wastes every month by throwing away food and drink. In fact the statistics around food waste in the UK are staggering:

Food Waste UK statistics

There are many reasons for household food waste but if you struggle to keep your fresh food from ending up in the bin there is two simple things you can do to keep it fresher for longer:
1. check the pack and
2. keep it wrapped.

We’ve been making some big changes to our packaging to help customers avoid food waste – from adding better labelling advice for customers, through to designing packaging that is specially designed for the product to keep it fresh. But when was the last time you read the storage instructions on the food you bring home from the shops?

It may be worth taking a look next time as on-pack storage advice and tips now features on around 300 of our own brand lines to help you get the most out of your food. Here are just 5 ways we’re helping to keep your food fresher for longer:

  1. You can get the most out of your fruit by storing it correctly in its own packaging and keeping it in the fridge at the optimum temperature:

Like them firm and fruity? Keep them wrapped to last longer.

2. Storage and freezing advice for bread and morning goods is now on 30 lines to combat waste: 24 million slices of bread are thrown away by UK households each year:

Like to spread it in the morning? Bed your bread in the freezer

3. The packaging we use for meats helps to keep them fresher for longer, for example the shelf life of steak is extended by 9 days (from 6 days to 15 days) due to the packaging:

Like yours to last?


4. We’ve managed to extend the shelf life of the asparagus you buy from our stores by 2 days by placing packaging perforations in the right places. We’ve designed the packaging to allow asparagus heads to breathe, whilst keeping the bottom of the stalks moist – perfect conditions to delay the development of the tough texture that ruins the product.

Want it fresh right to the tip? The way we package asparagus stops it going hard.


5. We’ve added an ‘opened on’ box for you to complete, as a reminder when it was first opened so there’s no uncertainty about ‘best by’ dates.

Like a little sauce on the side? Don't stray, there's life in it yet


Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Can you explain why you put a single garlic bulb into a plastic net? There is so much unnecessary packaging, and much of it ends up in the sea.


    • We checked with our Environment Team on this and they explained that on the face of it, a single bulb of garlic shouldn’t need packaging, however, we need to make sure that we keep track of the best before date on the garlic.

      The nets are actually made from polythene and can be recycled with carrier bags and we are looking at ways the label can be too so that the entire packaging can be recycled.
      – Fiona


  2. Great post! The infographisc and all the other information is very interesting and quite important. I’m recently trying to explain to my kids how important it is ti minimize our food waste and and the waste we produce at all. They seem to like the idea about this all and may be will be enthusiastic to help me with minimizing the food waste at home. Thanks for all this great information!


  3. Your apples are in plastic that can’t be recycled. I don’t buy packaged fruit unless the plastic can be recycled. Why can’t you use the plastic that you use for carrots/bread that can be recycled with carrier bags?



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Food, Food Policy