As you may know, statistics about how much food we bin show that our efforts to save food are pretty, well, rubbish. With over a third of the food we produce going to waste globally, and the UK consumer wasting an astounding 19% of the food they buy, its clear that this is something needs to be addressed.
A lot of the food waste starts at home. According to Love Food Hate Waste, the average British household will throw away around £60 worth of food a month. But what can you do to reduce your food waste and save some money? We’ve come up with some handy tips to start you on your food saving mission:
Buy exactly what you need
- Over a third of us go shopping without a list, meaning we are far more likely to pick up things that we don’t actually need and end up wasting food. If you have time, try planning your meals and going into the supermarket with at least a vague idea of what you need, which will also save you money!
- Think about your week ahead… how busy will you be? Will you have time to cook? Or will you need quick meals on the go? Having an idea of what your week is going to look like will help you complete your grocery shopping more efficiently and effectively!
- If you are cooking from a recipe, try and purchase exact amounts of, e.g fruit and veg, by buying loose at the supermarket rather than packaged together in a big bag. Likewise, try buying grains, nuts and spices from bulk bins if you can, so you can measure out exactly what you need and avoid the unnecessary packaging!
- Don’t be put off by oddly shaped fruit and veg. They taste just as good!
- Be realistic: if you live alone or it is just the two of you, you don’t need to do a family-size shop. If you don’t do much cooking then don’t stock up on food that needs to be cooked (as opposed to simply heated up) before you can eat it.
- Don't go to the supermarket hungry!
- FIFO (First in, First Out) is a great method for organising your fridge/ freezer /cupboard. When you unpack your shopping, move your older food to the top shelf or to a more prominent place. This way, food won’t be lurking in the back of the fridge until it’s too late!
- Make a list of what is in the freezer and the date it was frozen and stick it on the freezer door for easy reference.
- Designate one meal a week where you use up all your leftover food. You can either have a hotch-potch sort of dinner to save you cooking one night a week, or you can get creative and turn the leftovers into a pie, soup or omelette.
Skins and Stems
- When cooking, try and use every piece possible to throw as little excess away. Especially with fruit and veg, a lot of the goodness and nutrients are actually just beneath the skin, so leave skins on and cook the broccoli stems (they taste amazing). If you do peel them, why not try making vegetable peel crisps out of your scraps rather than binning them?
Check your fridge temperature
- According to one statistic, 70% of us set our fridges at too high a temperature, meaning our food can go bad faster. Keeping your fridge between 1-5 degrees celsius keeps your food at its best for as long as possible. Most modern fridges have a temperature gauge, but if not you can invest in a fridge thermometer.
- If you are eating out, most restaurants and cafes will package up any leftover food for you. If you have paid for it, why let it go to waste?
- One of our favourite words! Fruit and veg can be turned into so many things when it starts to go off. Try using sad looking fruits in smoothies or crumbles, old bananas make the best banana bread and sad-looking veg can be chopped up and made into a soup! Or, follow our example and have a go at making chutney!
Step away from the bin
- Monitor what you are regularly throwing away. If you get through only half a loaf of bread before you have to chuck it, then split the next loaf you buy and freeze one half of it.
- There is no need to treat expiration dates as sacred. ‘Use-by’ dates are often more of an indication from the manufacturer of when food reaches its peak quality. If you store food properly, most of it will still be edible after the use-by date. Obviously, it requires a bit of common sense and products like meat and dairy differ from fruit and veg., but if it looks, smells and tastes OK, its probably fine!
- If you find you are throwing away lots of crackers, biscuits or cereals, store them in an airtight container so they don’t go off so quickly. While you are at it, check that the seals on all the containers and food bags in the fridge are still airtight and that the fridge itself is operating at the correct, most efficient temperature.