Five simple ways to save food

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Every year the world wastes enough food to fill a bin 1.2km wide, 1.2 km deep and 2.1 km tall. Here are five ways to help you save food in your home.

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Shrink That Footprint

food-waste

Every year the world wastes enough food to fill a bin 1.2km wide, 1.2 km deep and 2.1 km tall.  Such a bin would makes the worlds tallest buildings look like matchsticks (see above).

About three quarters of this waste occurs before food is ever sold, during production, post-harvest, processing  and distribution. The food we waste in our homes totals about 50kg a person each year, and rises to as much as 100kg a year in some wealthy countries. This is the equivalent of pushing every trolley of food strait into a skip.

Your home could easily spend as much as $1,000 a year on edible food that is never eaten. In the US the average is $900 a year, in the UK it’s £700 and in Australia it’s over $1,000!

We don’t waste food on purpose, but somehow between the demands of our busy lives and being bombarded with food on sale we’ve gotten in the habit of wasting a colossal amount of food.  Here are five simple hacks to help you save food in your home.

1) Plan for perishables

About half of household food waste occurs due to things not being consumed in time (or people being squeamish about dates). This food waste is dominated by bread, fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and pre-made meals.

Any person that runs a busy home plans meals each week.  But when it comes to stopping food waste the key is to plan for perishables.  If you’ve got too much dry spaghetti or tinned tomatoes in the cupboard its really doesn’t matter.  But when you buy stuff that will go of in a week you need a plan to eat it or store it soon.

Love Food Hate Waste have some cool menu planning tools.

2) Love your freezer, fight your fridge

The refrigerator has a mystical ability to dissapear food from your consciousness.  With the best intensions in the world we put things in the fridge to ‘eat later’, only to bin them when we eventually journey to the back row.

Getting in the habit of moving the food in your fridge is a good one.  And if you can freeze something, then do consider it.  Food stored in freezers is far more likely to be eaten eventually than things in a fridge.  If you are tempted by ‘buy one get one free offers’ then checking that they can be frozen is a useful thing to do.

3) Quickly measure portions

The second half of household food waste arises due to preparing more than we eat.  For things like cereals, rice, pasta just having a very simple measuring cup or scale that takes 5 seconds can do wonders to reduce ‘plate waste’.

It is also much easier to add a little something to a meal if you’re still peckish, so experimenting with smaller portions is a good one.

4) Grocery shop online

Have you every noticed that the closer you get to the checkout the more sweets and treats you see.  Supermarkets are well studied in helping you buy food you don’t need or isn’t good for.  It’s even worse if you shop while hungy.

Somehow, due to the magic of the internet that allure is quite there online.  Sitting on a computer, checking the fridge and cupboards it always seems much easier to buy the food you actually need.  I’m sure this isn’t for everyone, but it sure does work in our house.

5) Upcycle your scraps

Stale bread plus garlic equals garlic bread.  Bubble and squeak can be nicer than a roast.  Old bananas make bread, smoothies, cakes . .

When you have moment, grab any food that looks like it is going to be wasted soon.  Put it on your kitchen bench, and invent a new meal.  You will amaze yourself!

Source: Shrink That Footprint. Reproduced with permission.

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1 Comment
  1. Rod Averbuch 6 years ago

    The large amount of food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. We should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of perishable food items close to their expiration on supermarket shelves causes waste.
    The consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior might be one of the weakest links of the fresh food supply chain.
    Why not utilize the new open GS1 DataBar standard to encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill?
    The “End Grocery Waste” application, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint. You can look this application up at EndGroceryWaste site.

    Rod,
    Chicago, IL

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