Press release

British public overspends on food at Christmas by more than £1bn 

The average British households who say they usually buy too much food at Christmas splash out £83.72 more than they need. Together, that’s a whopping £1,109,290,000, according to a new nationwide poll by ComRes for charity Christian Aid about Christmas charitable giving and festive food waste habits.

  • Fifty per cent of British public say they feel they usually overspend on food at Christmas.
  • North East most likely to say they overspend on festive food (sixty six per cent)
  • Welsh reported to be most frugal when spending on food at Christmas (forty three per cent)
  • West Midlands say they bin the most sprouts (twenty one percent)
  • The North East say they throw away the most mince pies (fourteen percent)

The poll is published as Christian Aid launches stop-motion film, ‘Oh What A Waste’, using real food from the traditional Christmas dinner, combined with a unique version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, to highlight the vast quantity of edibles the UK public throws away every year.

The statistics used in the film are based on existing research and include 70 million mince pies, four million puddings and two million turkeys. The film is part of the charity’s annual Christmas Appeal, and is encouraging people to waste less this Christmas and spend on food that saves lives. 

For every pound the public give to the appeal to support people living in poverty, the UK Government will also give a pound. That’s double the support for families struggling to feed themselves in South Sudan, meaning even more mothers and infants under-five in South Sudan will be saved from the life-threatening effects of malnutrition. 

Ian Livett, Head of Fundraising, said: “Oh What A Waste is a bit of festive fun but it highlights a serious message. If we’re all bit more careful with our Christmas food shop, buying only what we need, then we can save more, waste less and save lives.

“Poor people across the globe, including those in South Sudan, still go to bed hungry. An estimated six million people in Africa alone facing food insecurity. If left untreated, acute malnutrition – the most extreme type of food crisis – can result in death. But hunger is not inevitable and there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.

“Please do share the film, waste less and donate what you can to our Christmas Appeal – with all donations being doubled by the UK Government.”

Just £5 could provide a voucher to provide enough food for a family for four days, and £10 feed a family in South Sudan for a week.

Donations made to the Christmas Appeal between 6 November 2017 and 5 February 2018 will be matched up to £2.7 million. The UK Government’s match will fund our work in South Sudan.

Access images, video and audio
Watch or embed Oh What A Waste Christmas Carol on Youtube
Donate to the Christmas Appeal
Watch or embed The Making of 'Oh What A Waste'




Notes to editors

The film
The film, which was directed by Rebecca Gower, aims to encourage the UK public to shop wisely at Christmas and donate the money they save to help provide food for families such as those in South Sudan, who because of drought and conflict, are not able to get enough to eat. 

The well-known Christmas carol, arranged for the film by composer, David M Saunders, begins with the opening line ‘Every year at Christmas, the UK throws away’, and ends with the line ‘They’re all at the bottom of the bin’. The chorus replaces ‘five gold rings’ with ‘Oo what a waste’. 

Poll methodology
ComRes surveyed 2,031 British adults online between 24th and 26th November 2017.  ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  For the full data please use this link:

UK Aid Match
UK Aid Match is run by the Department for International Development. It brings charities, the British public and the UK government together to change the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. The Government will match every donation to participating charity appeals, up to a total of £5 million per UK Aid Match appeal, for a three-month period.  Donations must be from individuals based in the UK.

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter:

3. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit