True cost of Christmas food shopping revealed by Zero Waste Scotland


67 million meals will go to waste in Scotland this December and 84% of households will have leftover food from Christmas Day, according to Zero Waste Scotland.

Festive favourites including turkey (56%), roast potatoes (34%) and Brussels sprouts (30%) are most likely to go uneaten.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “As a nation, we will waste thousands of tonnes of food this festive season, a lot of which is avoidable. To put this into context, over £11.5 million pounds of meat and poultry alone will be thrown away throughout December.

“Everyone really wants to enjoy Christmas Day, however no one likes throwing away money or good food.

“Taking simple steps, like resisting the urge to overbuy and using a shopping list to avoid doubling up on ingredients, are easy ways we can all reduce food waste and do our bit to tackle climate change.”

A YouGov survey, commissioned by the not-for-profit environmental organisation, reveals that as many as a million Scots who celebrate Christmas leave it until the last minute, with 21% saying they or someone in their household buys food the week of Christmas and 43% saying they buy it on the third week of December.

More than a third (35%) don’t do any planning before hitting the shops to buy their Christmas meal.

In contrast, 1 in 5 (20%) say their festive food planning begins in November or earlier.

Overall, a quarter admitted to feeling worried or stressed when shopping for food for Christmas Day (3% and 22% retrospectively).

Food waste is a significant contributor to the global climate crisis and the true cost to the planet of Scotland’s wasted food more than doubles when emissions from growing, processing and cooking it are taken into account.

If wasted food is then sent to landfill the environmental impact are even worse as this emits methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases.