The accelerating pace of supermarket price increases points to the EU meeting its commitment to halve per capita retail and consumer food waste by 2030. However, this path is significantly limiting the well-being of Spanish households and, on occasions, putting their health at risk, since there is an increase in the consumption of expired products.
More and more citizens are forced to reduce the products in the shopping cart due to the sharp rise in prices, which was established this Friday with the publication of the final CPI data for December. In the first place, the increase in prices consequently causes a drop in food waste. You only have to note that during September 2022 sales of perishable products such as meat fell by 16%, while that of fish fell by up to 14%, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). .
Secondly, the increase in costs forces most families to test the purchased items as much as possible, even recording historical data. In this sense, according to the 2022 Purchase and Consumption Habits Report carried out by the Participation Table (MPAC) together with Mercadona, 41% of consumers take more advantage of food to avoid waste.
What might seem like optimistic data can really go away with the growth in the number of citizens who in 2022 have felt vulnerable as buyers. “Without a doubt, the current economic and social situation is reflected in this study, since the number of people who have changed their habits in recent months has increased by 11 points compared to 2021, when 39% of those surveyed had not modified their habits, while in 2022 it has dropped to 28%”, indicates the MPAC.
The other worrying side is the higher consumption of expired product. Juan Moreno, general secretary of the Union of Consumers of Andalusia (UCAUCE) and member of the MPAC, denounces the increase of citizens who openly affirm the consumption of products whose expiration date, not of preferential consumption, has expired. A practice that puts people’s health at risk. Specifically, 67% of those surveyed by the MPAC have claimed to consume food once its date has passed, compared to 59% who did so in 2021.
In general, families are making an effort to find the best prices in the supermarket. The citizens of rural environments have been the ones who have adjusted their consumption the most, in comparison with those of the urban environment, who have chosen to try to hunt ‘bargains’. “Without a doubt, it is at this time when commercial establishments must seek stability in the final price at which they offer us the products and when consumers will increase the search for offers and the best use of what we buy, both speaking of commenting on large consumption”, indicates the 2022 Purchase and Consumption Habits Report.
One of the options that many have requested to get more affordable prices has been the purchase of surplus food at the end of the day at a reduced price. The Too Good To Go app, which fights against food waste in markets and establishments, decreased in 2022 an increase of 36% in users who required this service. Likewise, the general director of the company, Marie Lindström, points out that a third of the saved packs come from supermarkets “because these packs usually include basic products such as fruits and vegetables, meat, fish or bread, among others, which are about to end of its useful life or reach its consumption date.”