The rise in popularity of pumpkin patches, where people select their own Halloween pumpkin, is creating “terrifying” levels of food waste, a report has claimed.
Each year, around 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin is binned, equating to enough pumpkin pie to feed the nation more than five times over and weighing the same as 1,500 double decker buses.
One fifth of people will visit a pumpkin patch this Halloween - a common trend in the US which has increased in popularity on this side of the Atlantic in recent years - with over a fifth more likely to visit a pumpkin patch now than they were 10 years ago, according to a study by food brand Knorr.
Of these, nearly a third stated they plan to take home more than two pumpkins, and two fifths will scrap excess pumpkin innards, which are perfectly edible.
Traditionally, Scots celebrating Halloween would hollow out a turnip to create a lantern - often using the insides for soup. However, the American preference for using a pumpkin has become the norm in modern times.
Phillipa Atkinson, senior brand manager at Knorr, said that pumpkin was an “often overlooked superfood” which is lesser known for its immunity-boosting powers.
She said: “It’s great to see families buying nutritious produce and supporting local farms, but we’d like to urge the nation to be more mindful about the way they make use of their pumpkin innards.”
“Whilst pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween – they’re taking up unnecessary space in Briton’s bins every autumn. We want to inspire families to come together and turn the remnants of their ghoulish pumpkins into nutritious and delicious meals they can share together.“
Read more: Scots warned of cold snap over Halloween night
BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall said that pumpkins, combined with the use of disposable fancy dress costumes, creates a “shocking” amount of waste at Halloween.
Mr Hall said: “We are up for people enjoying themselves but there’s a lot of waste going on here that could be reduced.
“Unfortunately, most people don’t have a clue what to do with the pumpkin flesh and bins up and down the country are bursting with the stuff because many people still don’t compost.
Pumpkins are a culinary unknown to most people, and the bin is by far the easiest option. It’s a shame because farmers are growing whole fields of these things just to be wasted.”