Consumer food waste is a global concern with 7 million tonnes of food wasted from UK homes each year. With such a staggering amount there is a need to understand why this happens and how to reduce it. Much of the food waste research and initiatives focus on general consumers with little attention to how certain sectors such as young adults may have different experiences.

Dr Natalie Masento, Senior Research Fellow and her team have been working on the EIT-Food Cook Clever project to explore current food habits in young adults (18-25 years old). Earlier this year they conducted a series of focus groups to find out why food is wasted in this age group and opportunities to reduce it. Their focus groups revealed some interesting results, that suggest young adults prefer eating new novel meals and prioritise variety in their diets as opposed to planning meals and enjoying leftovers. They also have quite a number of restrictions such as living in homes with communal kitchens and limited access to large supermarkets for big shopping trips to due lack of their own car.

The project team which includes University of Reading, Valio, Rethink Resource and project leader VTT will take what they’ve learnt from speaking with young adults and work with groups in Finland and the UK to create and test a new smartphone app that aims to support positive food habits and reduce food waste.

Their research is gathering media attention as reported by Food Navigator and the New Food magazine