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Oh what a waste Christmas Carol calculations

The statistics in the carol are based on various festive food waste studies printed in the UK press, at Christmas time, over the last five years.

We have used existing research, some of which differs depending on the publication and date, and a creative approach to highlight the problem of food waste in general: however, all responsibility for the accuracy of the statistics used lies with the researchers.

Occasionally, we have converted the original unit measurement to fit the song’s rhythm – and in several cases, rounded down the statistic to make the lyrics work.

Sources and calculations

‘12 million carrots’

Actual figure: 11.9 million carrots

Source: Unilever research quoted in the Daily Mail, 2014

‘11 million roasties’

Actual figure: 11.3 million roast potatoes

Source: Unilever research quoted in the Daily Mail, 2014

‘10 million parsnips’

Actual figure: 10.9 million parsnips

Source: Unilever research quoted in the Daily Mail, 2014

‘9 million boats of gravy’

Actual figure: 5 million litres of gravy

Source: Research by the Food Standard Agency and Iceland, quoted in the Daily Mail, 2016

Calculation: We converted 5 million litres into pints – 8,798,769 imperial pints. We rounded this up to 9 million, based on larger gravy jugs with a one-pint capacity. (The actual number of gravy boats wasted would, in fact, be significantly higher when using the smaller, more common gravy boats, which hold 500ml: less than half a pint.)

‘8 million balls of stuffing’

Actual figure: 7.9 million cups of stuffing

Source: Unilever research quoted in the Daily Mail, 2014

‘70 million mince pies’

Actual figure: 74 million mince pies

Source: Unilever, 2012

‘6 million jars of cranberry’

Actual figure: 2.5 million kg of cranberry sauce (based on a 400g jar).

Source: Research by Food Standard Agency and Iceland, quoted in the Daily Mail, 2016

Calculation: We based our calculations on an old 400g jar of cranberry sauce. We converted 2.5m kg into 2.5bn grams: 2.5bn divided by 400g jars = 6.25m (we rounded this down to 6m). Today however, cranberry sauce is usually sold in 250g jars, and therefore the number of jars wasted is likely to be much higher.

‘4 million Christmas puddings’

Actual figure: 5 million Christmas puddings

Source: Unilever, 2012

‘So many sprouts’

Actual figure: 17.2 million Brussels Sprouts

Source: Unilever research quoted in the Daily Mail, 2014

‘2 million turkeys’

Source: Unilever, 2012