This week is Zero Waste Week and with our mission to eliminate food waste, we thought it would be helpful to share some top tips for reducing food waste in the home. Did you know that each year the average UK household wastes £470 on food that is binned, with a whopping 250,000 tonnes being sent to landfill each year? Whilst this food is going to waste, 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to eat! We believe that it is so important for us all to come together to reduce the amount of food being wasted and feed hungry bellies. Using information from credible sources, Friends of the Earth, BBC Good Food and Love Food Hate Waste, we’ve collated 10 top tips.
Top tips to reduce food waste:
1. Only buy what you need. WRAP suggests taking a ‘shelfie’ – a photo of your fridge and cupboards to remind you what’s in there. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
2. Check the use-by-dates of fresh food when you’re buying it: only buy what you can eat before it expires.
3. Plan ahead: plan your meals and how you’ll use any leftovers to avoid buying unnecessary items.
4. Freeze, freeze, freeze: use any spare time to batch-cook and freeze meals to reduce food waste and cooking time (simply defrost and heat your pre-cooked frozen meal).
5. Store your fresher/new food at the back of the fridge: to help you use up older food before it goes off. Consider having an ‘eat me first’ shelf.
6. Find some leftover food recipes: if you’re unsure what to do with the odd bits of food left in your fridge (Love Food Hate Waste have a range of left over recipes where you can type in your ingredients to find a tasty meal: https://lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes)
7. Remember to check your cupboards – you can still get your 5-a-day from tinned fruits and veggies and they have a much longer life.
8. Recycle/compost any food that does become unsafe to use (regularly to avoid a smelly kitchen).
9. Make your own favourite fermented food items: sauerkraut, kimchi, ginger carrots, pineapple tepache, pickled radishes and more. It’s super for your digestive system as well as reducing waste!
10. Download an app that connects you to businesses who need to get rid of their perfectly edible food and people sharing food: Too Good To Go (links customers to restaurants with excess food that they can order at a discounted price between £2-3.80/meal). OLIO (connects customers to excess home-grown vegetables, food nearing sell-by-date in local shops, and unwanted food in households). Winnow (allows users to see how much food they’re wasting and where they can make savings). NoFoodWasted (allows customers to view discounted food items in nearby shops before they pass their ‘best-before’ date, as well as receiving notifications on their phones when items on their personal shopping list are discounted).
Best-before dates and Use-by dates – what’s the difference?
We can often get confused by what date labels mean, are things okay after their date or do they need to be thrown straight away? We’re here to help you understand date labels better to reduce the amount of food you’re throwing away.
BEST BEFORE DATE – the best before date is about food quality. After the date given, the food is still edible however, may not be at its best point of quality. Love Food Hate Waste gives a guide on some key items and how long they can last after their best before date, with proper storage:
· Crisps – one month
· Biscuits – six months
· Cereals – six months
· Canned food – 12 months
· Confectionary – 12 months Pasta sauce – 12 months Dried pasta – three years!
USE BY DATE – the use by date is all about safety! Do NOT use the food after the use by date, although the food may look okay to eat there could be bacteria that leads to food poisoning.
DISPLAY UNTIL/SELL BY DATE – just ignore these dates, they’re for the retailers.