06 Sep 10 tips to reduce your food waste

It is common knowledge that food waste is an important environmental and social issue which needs to be addressed. The stats in the UK are mind boggling with over 7 million tonnes of household food waste going to waste according to an in-depth 2018 report  by Wrap. What we find most staggering by this amount of waste is that 70% of that household food waste is still edible when thrown away, demonstrating a big issue with ‘avoidable’ food waste. Alongside household, there is the issues of food waste along the supply chain including the strict requirements for fruit and veg to look ‘pretty’ and supermarkets throwing away food they can’t sell.

But why does it really matter that there’s lots of food waste? It really comes down to the  efficiency of our food eco-system. All the food we eat has a carbon footprint, be it the machinery to harvest the food, the transport as well as most have having packaging. It can feel difficult if not even overwhelming to try and reduce food waste, in this blog we highlight 10 simple steps to tackling food waste and helping to create a more sustainable food system.

1. Create a food plan

Take stock of how much food you eat every week and plan each week, doesn’t need to be too in-depth and can take 5-10 minutes to plan out meals. This way you have a good idea of what you need to buy and will help to minimise over-buying, we’ve all been there when we’ve gone into the supermarket to get a few bits and pieces and ending up leaving with half the shop!

2. Shop locally and more often

A great way of reducing food waste is carrying out smaller shops more often than doing one big shop every week or two. This can still link well into a food plan and helps to ensure food that you buy is fresher and won’t end up going past its sell by date. It also makes it easier to buy food that you are feeling like that particular day. That’s a thing worth noting about tackling food waste, can have benefits such as saving money and eating better as a result.

3. Buy wonky!

Alongside household waste, another key source of food waste is the strict restrictions from on what fruit and vegetables look like with supermarkets wanting their produce to have a very consistent look. It’s understandable as a food retailer that they won’t sell produce which is badly bruised or damaged, that being said a lot of time it is if they’re not conventionally ‘pretty’ and might be a little wonky.

On a quest to help solve this issue, Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran, started Oddbox. Oddbox champions wonky veg through creating a weekly subscription box where you can get the latest seasonal vegetables direct to your day. One of the great things about their subscriptions is that because the produce is seasonal and wonky, it is both sustainable and affordable.

4. Freeze your fruit and veg

Frozen fruit and veg tend to have plastic packaging but that’s not to mean you can’t buy produce locally package free and still freeze it. This is especially good for produce for food prep such as berries for smoothies and tomatoes for sauces.

5. Lunch is the new dinner

If you’ve gone to all that effort of making a nice dinner and you have some leftovers, try perking up your lunch the next day, beats a meal deal!

6. Measure your portions

Have you ever tried to make pasta and ended up with so much cooked pasta you’d be ready for a marathon the next day? Measuring portions is an easy way of helping to reduce food waste. If you don’t have time to food prep then try to be conscious of how much your putting in nonetheless.

7. Get creative

At the end of the week, the fridge maybe looking empty, but that’s not to mean a decent meal can’t be salvaged. This is where a well stocked pantry with staples can really help to spice up, maybe quite literally, what you’ve got left to eat to keep things interesting.

8. Sharing is caring!

Instead of chucking away unwanted food, food sharing is becoming increasingly popular. In cities this can be difficult, here’s where food app, Olio, can help massively connecting you with local people who are giving away or looking for food.

9. Store properly

This maybe an obvious one, but after a quick google you can find out that certain foods last much longer stored in certain places. For example, cereal will last much longer in a sealed container rather than leaving it in the open box.

10. Compost

You don’t need to be green fingered or even have a garden (search kitchen composts) for that matter to have a compost. At the end of the day is impossible to produce zero food waste, fortunately composting is a great way of helping to ensure food waste is properly.