What's in your fridge?

July 02, 2012, 3:31 PM GMT+0

Butter, eggs… chocolate? We poll Brits on fridge habits as FSA campaign highlights safe food storage

It may come as little surprise that British adults regularly refrigerate items such as butter or eggs, but it might be a little more of a stretch to discover that other, less delicate foodstuffs are also kept chilled in the average Britons' fridge – such as vegetables, fruit, chocolate and bread ‒ even though none of these items technically require refrigeration to stay fresh. Our poll asked 1711 British adults what they consider to be fridge-storing foods.

  • The large majority of British consumers (87%) keep their butter in the fridge
  • Two-thirds of Britons (67%) choose to chill their eggs
  • Vegetables are also stored in the fridge by most consumers, with 64% keeping carrots cool
  • 40% will keep their chocolate in the fridge
  • Almost a third of Britons (30%) store onions in the fridge
  • Almost half (46%) keep grapes in the fridge, but are half as likely to cool apples (22%)
  • 14% prefer to chill their bread

In addition to food items, common spreads like jam proved more popular chilled, while fewer respondents were likely to keep honey or peanut butter in the fridge.

  • Three fifths of Britons choose to keep jam in the fridge (59%)
  • Over two fifths (44%) are likely to chill their tomato ketchup
  • Fewer Britons are likely to cool their honey with only 15% saying they do this
  • Only around one in ten (12%) keep peanut butter in the fridge

Our poll asked people about their fridge-storing habits in light of The Food Standards Agency's annual awareness drive, which aims to encourage consumers to take proper food safety measures in a manner that saves money, and promotes good hygiene.

Food safety on a budget?

Despite these foods technically not needing refrigeration in the same way as, say, meat or fish, the Food Standards Agency still emphasises how much storing food in your fridge can help it stay fresh and prevent the need to throw away unused, 'off' produce.

Food Safety Week, held every summer, is an annual event held to promote the importance of good food hygiene in the home. Mindful of the current economic climate, the Food Standards Agency chose to focus on ‘food safety with a budget’, advocating the appropriate use of the fridge to improve food sustainability, safety, preservation and cost cutting.

As part of this theme, the FSA produced a leaflet and poster on the theme of 'your fridge is your friend' that provides advice on food safety while shopping on a budget.

Research by anti-waste food campaigners, such as Love Food Hate Waste, estimates that the average family disposes of approximately £50.00 of good food each month. The group advises that such wastage could be easily avoided by taking the time to understand labels (such as 'use by', which is applied to perishable items, such as ham; and 'best before' dates, which simply states the date before which the food will taste freshest), and packaging and consuming leftovers safely.

See the survey details and full results here