Neglected Cupboard Staples: Vinegar, Stock Cubes, and Tinned Vegetables Top the List

Vinegar, stock cubes, and tinned vegetables are among the most neglected food items in UK kitchen cupboards, with many remaining unused for five years or more due to a lack of culinary inspiration.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults has revealed a list of the top 50 items that are likely to languish in cupboards for a year or longer after purchase.

In addition to vinegar, stock cubes, and tinned vegetables, the list includes items such as tinned tuna, chickpeas, herbs, and spices, as well as gravy and nuts. Soy sauce, kidney beans, and dried pasta also feature among the unused foodstuffs.

The research found that three-quarters of respondents feel uninspired by the contents of their store cupboards. Nearly one-third (32 percent) experience the “store cupboard stare,” where they look inside their pantries and fridges but feel unenthusiastic about the options available.

When faced with the store cupboard stare, 12 percent of respondents feel that deciding what to make is “too much effort,” while 11 percent believe they lack the creativity to transform old ingredients into exciting dishes.

To combat the lack of mealtime inspiration, rice brand Tilda has developed a recipe generator tool that helps individuals make the most of their cupboard staples. The tool was created as part of the launch of Tilda’s latest flavor, Ready to Heat Golden Vegetable Rice.

The survey, commissioned by Tilda, also revealed that due to the recent increase in the cost of living, Brits have been stocking up on “cupboard items” to reduce overall shopping costs. Moreover, 23 percent of respondents have been exploring the depths of their cupboards more frequently in the past six months to create affordable meals.

Despite these efforts, 15 percent of respondents believe they have had ingredients lurking in the back of their cupboards for five years or longer. Additionally, 14 percent admit to never finishing an entire bag of pasta, and 12 percent are unsure how to utilize all their mustard.

However, rice is regarded as the easiest cupboard staple ingredient to use by nearly a third (30 percent) of respondents. Furthermore, 42 percent see rice as a versatile ingredient suitable for the entire family.

The survey found that midweek dinners pose the greatest challenge in terms of mealtime inspiration for Brits (42 percent), while weekend lunches are the easiest. Additionally, 15 percent of respondents cannot recall the last time they attempted to create a meal using only ingredients already present in their cupboards and freezers.

According to the data from, 27 percent of respondents find it somewhat difficult to incorporate enough vegetables into their meals.

Anna Beheshti, spokesperson for Tilda, highlighted the versatility of store cupboard staples and their ability to complement various dishes. She suggested that Ready to Heat Golden Vegetable Rice can be a solution for individuals striving to incorporate more vegetables into their diet.

The top 50 foodstuffs Brits have kept in their cupboards without using for a year or more include vinegar, stock cubes, flour, sugar, pasta, tinned vegetables, loose rice, tinned tomatoes, mustard, cinnamon, dried noodles, tinned tuna, turmeric, tinned kidney beans, tinned baked beans, gravy, chutneys, tinned chickpeas, paprika, olive oil, dried rosemary, garlic granules, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, cumin, dried parsley, nuts, garam masala, dried coriander, microwaveable rice, couscous, brown sauce, coconut milk or cream, sunflower oil, dried basil, cardamom seeds, hot sauce, olives, dried chives, tinned black beans, tinned lentils, dried tarragon, sweet chili sauce, star anise, onion granules, pesto sauce, passata, quinoa, and saffron.

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