Don’t just eat it – compleat it! How to use up every edible bit of our food.

25 March 2019

In the UK, we throw away the equivalent of 19 loaves of bread per household every single year… and research shows it’s more likely to be thrown away by a woman than a man!

Love Food Hate Waste has been investigating how people in the UK compleat their food, and it turns out that some valuable food staples – like potatoes, bread, and apples – are wasted simply because of personal preference.

Compleating is more than just how you cook – it’s a whole food philosophy, one that can save you money while you look after the planet. It means finding fun and innovative ways to make use of bread crusts, broccoli stalks, pumpkin seeds, potato skins, and any other edible bits and pieces that you might otherwise have thrown out.

Love Food Hate Waste has been working with some of the UK’s leading foodies – including Masterchef’s Imran Nathoo and leading Indian chef Hari Ghotra – to get people thinking about how they can compleat a meal. Along with mouth-watering recipes from a host of key social media influencers, including Becky Excell, Mikey Bell, Lean Student Chef, and Original Flava, there has been a buzz on social media about how you can make the most of the more unusual and delicious parts of our food, which many people may not know they can eat.

Use your loaf
Crusts and end slices of bread are among the most wasted foods. Of the 410,000 tonnes of bread we throw away in the UK every year, over a quarter is crusts and ends! The amount we waste is enough to make 11 billion soldiers to dunk into our eggs every year.

Focusing on commonly wasted foods, Love Food Hate Waste spoke to over 2,000 UK adults to see whether they are already compleating. We found a particular gender difference when it came to bread. In total, 66% of people said that they always eat their bread crusts, although nearly all knew they are edible. Men proved keener to eat these parts of the loaf than women: only 60% of women always eat the crusts, compared to 72% of men. Furthermore, just 37% of women always eat the end slice compared to more than half of all men surveyed (57%).  

Ditch the peeler
Potato skins are perfectly edible, delicious and nutritious, and yet these are commonly wasted.

Of the people surveyed, just 6% thought that potato skins are inedible, which across the whole country adds up to nearly 4 million people. Wasted potatoes cost UK households roughly £550 million every year, and food waste overall can set a household of four people back by £70 each month. 

If all of those 4 million people started compleating their potato skins, this small change could make a big difference! Most of the fibre goodness is in the skin, so enjoying skin-on mash would ensure you get all the nutrients from the humble spud without wasting a single bit. Compleating your skins is the perfect way to stay healthy, save money, and love your planet all at the same time.

Key ways to start compleating!
To help you make the most of every bit of your food, here are some top compleating hacks:

  • Make a super quick mini pizza by loading up the end slice of bread with some delicious pizza toppings.
  • Try whizzing up some carrot leaves with oil, parmesan, and garlic for some compleatly delicious homemade pesto.
  • Skin-on mash is a perfect way to use up your potatoes. Chop up your (un-peeled!) spuds into small chunks before boiling and the skin will make the finished product silky smooth.
  • Carrots, parsnips, and other root veggies are perfectly edible without peeling! All they need is a quick wash before preparing – saving you time as well as reducing waste.
  • Don’t fancy your plain pizza crusts? Try dipping them in guacamole or salsa as a cheeky after- dinner snack – an alternative to pitta bread or breadsticks!

Jenny Carr, Campaign Project Manager at Love Food Hate Waste, says:

“Food waste is often a result of habit: we throw out broccoli stalks, bread ends, and potato skins not because we don’t like them, but just because that’s what we’ve always done. The compleating campaign asks people to reconsider those food waste habits and try new ways of using up everyday foods to get the most value from what you buy.” 

Food waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face; if it were a country, food waste would be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. A lot of perfectly edible food is commonly wasted and if everyone took action and compleated their food, we could make a huge difference to the planet and our purses.

For more tips for compleating your food, visit 


About Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW)
Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) is a campaign from the not-for-profit organisation WRAP. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help citizens take action. It shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things at home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

About the research 
The online consumer survey was carried out by ICARO on the behalf of WRAP in January 2019 with a UK representative sample of 2090 adults aged 18+.

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