On average 18 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in the UK alone*. This is split roughly into thirds by suppliers and producers, vendors and home wastage.
We hear over and over again about shocking food wastage statistics such as this – but how many times have you heard your inner voice saying, ‘Yes, but it’s OK because I had leftovers for lunch, so I can’t be one of those people who wastes a lot’?
The truth is, everyone contributes to food waste: it’s an inevitable part of our consumption in such a quick world of BOGOF offers, huge portions and imported food. But resisting that three-for-two offer, reducing your portion size, and buying from local markets can all help reduce the amount of food which is wasted over the course of the year.
Well, supermarket offers may seem great – and sometimes they can be a bargain – but do you really want or need three family size fresh pizzas when you’re a single professional who eats out 70% of the time? (OK, an extreme example – but you get the idea).
And where do local markets come in?
You can choose seasonal produce in quantities you require – no additional packaging, and fewer ‘food miles’ which reduces your carbon footprint as an added bonus!
We might not realise how much food we waste each year, but there are a few simple steps to making sure you reduce the amount of wastage – and by wasting less, you’ll need to buy less, leaving you more in your pocket!
- Plan your meals. Look ahead at your week’s schedule: are you meeting friends for dinner one night? Will you be working late another night? Do the children have friends over at the weekend? A bit of foresight will help you work out exactly how many meals you will be cooking for the week.
- Make use of leftovers. Become a pro at manipulating meals: when cooking a Sunday roast, buy a slightly larger joint than you would usually and save the remaining meat for your packed lunch sandwiches on Monday, and for a curry on Tuesday. This also will save you cooking time during the week!
- Buy fresh from markets. Supermarkets encourage bulk-buying in excessive packaging. Using a market will help you pick the freshest local produce, in the exact amounts you need.
- Don’t do the food shop on an empty stomach. It sounds ridiculously simple – but how many times have you come away with a basket overloaded with quick-fix goodies and not enough fruit, veg, and lean meat? And how often have you had to repeat the food shop only a day or so later to stock up on the proper food? The quick-fixes might be tasty, but grabbing food when you’re hungry will mean you stock up on things you don’t really want or need.
- Rotate your stored food. Remember to rotate produce in your cupboards each time you’ve done the food shop – bring older produce from the back and put the fresher stuff behind. This way you’ll be reminded to use what you already have. It will also help you when planning your meals to see what is already in the cupboard to stop you over-buying!
- Your freezer is the ice-cold king of the kitchen. When making stews, soups, bakes, lasagne – almost anything – make additional portions and freeze them. This way, you will have economy in the purchasing of food, as you can buy in bulk on occasions where you know you will be making extra to freeze, and save on cooking time for future meals when all you need to do is reheat!
- An extra little tip for any leftover wine is to pour into ice-cube trays and freeze. You can do this with leftover stock too. Then, when next cooking a stew, soup or sauce, you can just drop the cube in.
There are plenty of things you can do to help reduce your food wastage, which in turn will help reduce the pressure on the environment, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save by planning ahead.
For more facts and tips about food waste, why not visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for some more ideas?
And of course, you could always order your next Hello Fresh box, where our ingredients are measured to perfection, so you’ll never have any waste from our meals!