Takeaway salad has been labelled Britain’s “biggest source of food waste”.
Thousands of tons of perfectly good food goes straight into the bin every year, according to waste management firm BusinessWaste.co.uk, which brands the situation a “scandal”.
It claims its own research shows that almost all of the bagged salads given away by takeaway food establishments are never eaten, with many thrown into waste bins unopened.
It insists public waste bins near 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,” said BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall. “In our opinion, they’re nothing but a huge waste of food.”
Out of the 1,500 takeaway food customers that it polled, 56% said that they throw the free salads given away as an accompaniment to curries or kebabs in the bin without opening it.
30% confessed to storing it in the fridge and throwing it away later and 14% leave it in the shop or give it back to the delivery person. Nobody said they ate it.
BusinessWaste.co.uk puts the reluctance of many people to eat salads from takeaways down to the mistaken perception that there’s probably something wrong with it, or that it has been prepared in an unhygienic kitchen.
“A plastic bag’s probably not the best way to present a salad, to be honest,” says Hall. “Customers have a mental image of the food being stuffed in there by bare hand, which it most certainly isn’t. But it’s a hard image for most people to shake.”