Millennials are in the firing line again, thanks to research which suggests that those aged 18 to 34 are driving the UK's food waste problem.
7m tonnes of food waste comes from British households each year, and the Instagram-generation's obsession with food presentation, combined with a failure to plan ahead, is said to be making matters worse, The Guardian reports.
The findings come after a national study by Sainsbury's examined the food waste patterns of 5,050 UK consumers. Nearly two-fifths of those aged over 65 said they never waste food, compared with just 17% of those under 35. In addition, 55% of 18- to 34-year-olds had a "live to eat" attitude to food, which often results in higher shopping bills and more waste. Older generations were more likely to "eat to live" with lower grocery bills and reduced waste.
The trend for trying out unusual recipes, which can then be photographed and shared on social media, along with over-buying food is also something the younger generation is said to be guilty of. 20% of those under 35 admitted to wasting food after a big shopping trip, compared with 8% of 55- to 64-year-olds and 7% of the 65-plus age group.
Yet it's difficult to see this difference in attitudes towards food changing. Many time-poor millennials favour the easy option when it comes to buying food and the demand for choice continues to grow.
"A post-war increase in household food waste is due to changes in how we value choice, time and money in relation to food," food historian and broadcaster Dr Polly Russell explained. "Gone are the days of eating the same food, on the same days of the week, week in, week out. Most people today, particularly younger generations, demand variety. However, with a menu which changes often, it is more challenging to control waste and plan ahead."
As millennials will be one of the first generations to feel the effects of the world's growing population, this "waste less, save more" initiative has come at the right time. It's also a another good reason to start swapping takeaways for leftovers.