Picnic Rescue

The aim of this project is to keep picnic food safe to eat for longer, reducing the amount that ends up in the bin or gets composted.

We have researched what types of food are wasted most often after picnics and the reasons this happened. This includes food getting squashed, too warm, taking too much, kids not wanting to eat sandwiches if there were other types of food to eat.

The results helped us to create a leaflet (pdf, 1.3mb) giving advice about portion sizes, food safety and interesting alternatives to traditional picnic food.

We also obtained a selection of storage solutions to help people keep their food fresher for longer. These include cool bags, ice packs, hard and soft fruit cases, bag clips, lunch bags and plastic containers split into compartments.

100 packs of the storage products were given to people to try. They were asked to report back on how their summer picnics and work packed lunches went.

More than 90% said that the project had saved over 75% of the food they might otherwise have thrown away. People also said that their families enjoyed using the products and there were unexpected benefits such as encouraging fussy eaters to enjoy their food.

Picnic rescue is part of the Sainsbury’s Waste less, Save more scheme. It attracted national attention when it was given a Green Apple Environmental Award, winning gold in the food and drink category.

For details of the storage products and suppliers please email the Environmental Education Project team at rosliston@southderbyshire.gov.uk

Ideas about making picnic food last longer and on how to use up are on the Waste less, Save more Facebook page.

The dedicated Sainsbury’s website features a whole range of recipes and food-wasting tips for those keen to get involved.


  • A Picnic Rescue pack
  • Fruit friend
  • Picnic Rescue pack used for lunch at work
  • Picnic Rescue pack in action