Thousands of tons of perfectly good food goes straight into the bin every year in what is described as the “scandal” of Britain’s biggest source of food waste.
Waste management company Business Waste says its research proves that over 99% of bagged salads given away by takeaway restaurants are never eaten – many thrown into waste bins unopened.
It says that public waste bins nears some curry houses and takeaway kebab shops are often filled to overflowing with bagged salads as customers dump them at the first opportunity.
“We tried to find out who eats these salads, and we found literally nobody prepared to confess that they did,” says Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall. “In our opinion, they’re nothing but a huge waste of food.”
The survey questioned 1459 takeaway food customers at various locations around, asking them what they did with free salads given away as an accompaniment to curries or kebabs.
- 56% put the salad straight into the bin without opening
- 30% put it in the fridge, and throw it away later
- 14% leave it in the shop or give it back to the delivery person
- 0% eat it
Hall puts the reluctance of people to eat salads from takeaways down to the perception that it might have been prepared in an unhygienic kitchen.
When Business Waste asked customers why they avoided takeaway salads, the reasons they gave ranged from, “I don’t know where it’s been” to “I’ve been told that it’s dirty/.. it’s out of date/they don’t wash it” to “I might get food poisoning from it”, and “I hate salad”.
The most pointed – and possibly the most telling – answer to the number of bagged salads found strewn outside town centre takeaways by waste disposal operators was: “Who wants a salad at pub closing time? Nobody, that’s who”.
Hall says takeaways should think twice before throwing in a bag of salad with an order, instead asking the customer if they want the salad. “It’s a very simple solution,” says Hall, “And one that will save food establishments money and put an end to the thousands of tons of food wasted every year.”