People’s unsafe food safety behaviors related to reducing energy bills and saving money have remained essentially the same as in the previous month, according to a survey.
The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Consumer Insights Tracker found that 15 percent of participants turned off a fridge and/or freezer containing food in December, compared to 13 percent in November.
Respondents were asked about actions they had taken at least once in the past month to reduce energy bills and save money.
Overall, 23 percent of participants changed the settings on their fridge or freezer to keep food at a warmer temperature. In November it was still 21 percent.
About a quarter lowered cooking temperatures and shortened cooking times, similar to the previous month.
Additionally, 61 percent of respondents used cheaper cooking methods such as a microwave, air fryer or slow cooker instead of an oven to heat or cook food. Slightly up from 58 percent in November.
The last monthly survey was conducted online from 16th to 19th December 2022 with 2,000 adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than one in five said they ate cold food because they couldn’t afford to cook hot food, up from 18 percent in November 2022.
A total of 29 percent of participants said they ate food past its sell-by date because they couldn’t afford to buy more. This is up from 26 percent in November.
In December 2022, people were asked about their concerns when shopping for groceries. Half were concerned about food quality, well up from 35 percent in December 2021, and 43 percent were concerned about food safety, up from 32 percent in December 2021.
Other behaviors included buying discounted groceries that are nearing their sell-by dates and buying longer shelf life and less fresh items.
In the latest poll, 38 per cent of respondents felt concerned about the safety of food produced in the UK compared to 52 per cent who were concerned about the safety of imported food. Also, 42 per cent were concerned about the quality of food produced in the UK, compared to 52 per cent who were concerned about the quality of food from outside the UK.
Larger ONS analysis
Separate data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that about one in five adults reported eating smaller portions and past-use-by-date foods during the winter of 2022.
Adults more likely to report both included those suffering from moderate to severe depressive symptoms; Rental; with diabetes; with a health problem and with one or more dependent children.
About half of adults said they spent less on groceries and essentials in the survey period from late November to December because of the cost of living.
To reduce gas and electricity use at home, some people have cooked less, failed to heat or reheat food to safe temperatures, and unplugged the fridge or freezer.
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