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Tesco calls for a Festive Use Up Day to make the most of leftovers and avoid ‘fridge grazing’


This Christmas, Tesco is encouraging customers to squeeze all the value possible from their festive food, and put their leftovers to good use.

With more than half (54%) of people who celebrate Christmas doing another big food shop within five days or less of Christmas Day, Tesco wants to help households replace fridge grazing with a Festive Use Up Day - a dedicated date between 25th and 30th December to safely make the most of the food already at home.

Research shows the average UK household wastes approximately £800 worth of edible food each year. During the festive period, an estimated 2 million turkeys, 5 million Christmas puddings, and 74 million mince pies are thrown away while still being edible, causing almost 270,000 tonnes of food waste .

One way to use up any turkey leftovers this year would be to ditch the traditional post-Christmas turkey sandwich in favour of a festive curry. During the four-week run up to Christmas Day last year, Tesco saw a 20 per cent increase in demand for cooking sauces like Tikka, Butter Chicken and Balti, suggesting Brits are increasingly seeking out alternative recipes to use up their leftover Christmas meat and veg.

According to a new study by Tesco, frequently leftover items include roasted meats or cheeses (in 46% of households who celebrate Christmas), Christmas puddings (42%), sauces (38%) and cooked trimmings such as stuffing and pigs in blankets (in 35% of households). For those looking to spice up their festive leftover meal game, Tesco’s recipe generator ( can help anyone to make a meal from the leftovers they have to hand, including:

Christmas Leftover Toastie - perfect for using up leftover Brussels sprouts, carrots or other veg, leftover turkey, ham, stuffing or nut roast.
Christmas Leftover Veg Korma - perfect for using up leftover roasted vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips or butternut squash.
Leftover Turkey Biryani – perfect for using up any turkey leftovers
Leftover Chicken and Stuffing Pasties - perfect for using up leftover turkey or chicken, leftover sausage stuffing or chipolatas.
Jamie’s Quick Winter Minestrone - perfect for using up leftover roasted root vegetables and leftover turkey or ham.
Christmas Pudding Crumble - perfect for using up leftover cooked Christmas pudding.

1 The total cost of household food waste in a family (based on 3.8 people) from a 2015 WRAP study with the cost of food (from April 2021) adjusted for inflation. The full WRAP report is available here.

Jamie Robinson, Tesco Executive Chef, says that the most-commonly wasted festive fare could be used up to make more meals to be eaten straightaway or frozen for the new year.
Findings from the Tesco study show that over a third (34%) of respondents say they will throw away chilled Christmas leftovers over concerns around whether it’s fit to eat, while 14% are unsure about what can be safely frozen.

Love Food Hate Waste’s A-Z guide on food storage shares that cooked meats including turkey and pigs in blankets can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge, and 3-6 months in the freezer, whilst roast potatoes and parsnips can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.

Kené Umeasiegbu, Campaigns Director at Tesco said: “For many, Christmas is a time where friends and families come together to enjoy delicious food, and we want our customers to be able to get more out of their Christmas food shop, while keeping tasty meals on the table for their loved ones. By using up what they already have before going out to shop, people can spend less and reduce food waste, benefitting both our pockets and the planet.”

For more recipes and resources, visit


Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2058 adults, of which 1,828 celebrate Christmas. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 21st October 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+)



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