NEW YORK — From moldy meatloaf to smelly beans buried on the back shelf, the average American fridge is a horror show. A new survey finds there are at least five items past their expiration date in the typical refrigerator right now.
The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans revealed the average person believes it will take five weeks before they find the foulest item lurking in their fridge. Among the shocking finds, respondents say they discovered cream cheese that had gone pink, moldy cucumber water, and even insects hiding inside.
The survey, commissioned by Rubbermaid, also reveals the average person has spent 19 more minutes in the kitchen each day since the coronavirus pandemic began. That’s a total of 97 additional hours in the kitchen. With so much time going in to slicing and dicing, it’s no wonder nearly two in three people (64%) say their increased cooking habits are creating more leftovers sitting in their refrigerators.
Unfortunately, once all that good food goes in the fridge, it doesn’t always come out again. In fact, 60 percent confessed they sometimes forget their leftovers are still in the fridge. Forgotten leftovers can also lead to unpleasant moments later. Over half the poll (56%) said they hate wasting food, 45 percent hate the clean-up, and 41 percent can’t stand the smell of their forgotten meals.
Those revolting foods can wreak havoc on the containers they sit in as well. One in two Americans (48%) have thrown out a whole container of leftovers because the smell was so bad.
Two in three said the smell of their leftovers even lingers on their containers. Seventy-three percent said a funky odor will deter them from eating their leftovers, with broccoli, fish, and fruit listed as frequent foul-smelling culprits.
“With pandemic cooking at an all-time high, our fridges are getting a workout and sometimes those leftover smells are more than our noses can handle! But there are solutions – choosing food storage containers that help resist odor-causing bacterial growth can help leftovers stay protected and fresh longer, alleviating the headache that comes from having to throw leftovers away and cooking a new meal from scratch,” says Kris Malkoski, CEO, Food Business Unit at Newell Brands, in a statement.
Americans want to get organized in 2021
Sixty-four percent of respondents said they don’t think they would forget about their leftovers if they could just keep their refrigerator more organized. When asked what would help keep their refrigerators in better order, 42 percent said they wanted stackable storage containers.
The container clutter isn’t just a fridge issue, as 41 percent admit they have a cabinet or shelf full of mismatched containers and lids too. More than four in five Americans said they’re making it a goal to better organize their mismatched container system.
While three in ten think they should clean their refrigerator out on a monthly basis, the average respondent has gone five months without tidying up.
“Spring cleaning is right around the corner, and as people feel the need to clean and get organized, we’re making it easy for them. We all know how frustrating it can be to lose a container lid or try to find the right one from a hodgepodge. Something as simple as having lids that snap together and to container bases can help optimize shelf space – whether in the fridge or cabinet – and reduce overall clutter,” Malkoski adds.