We’re all guilty of throwing away food, be that potatoes which have grown a couple of eyes or bread which has overstepped its best before date by 30 minutes.
It’s a practice most of us carry out nearly every day and one which contributes to 8-10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The UK is by far the biggest culprit of food waste in Europe; on average, we throw away an astonishing 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, most of which is from cooking more than we need.
This Monday marks the beginning of WRAP’s third Food Waste Action Week campaign – the perfect opportunity for you to assess how you can reduce your wastage.
What is Food Waste Action Week?
Commencing in March 2021, Food Waste Action Week was created to raise awareness of the impact household food waste has on the planet.
The movement proved an instant success; almost half of UK citizens reported their efforts to reduce food waste.
Upon its return in 2022, the campaign’s fire still remained strong, reaching more than 8 million people and convincing just under 55% of the country to take positive action.
This year’s theme – ‘Win. Don’t bin.’ – will explore how using food up helps to save money and time whilst lessening the impact we have on the environment.
In a nation of 70 million, every leftover consumed makes a difference.
How can you contribute to Food Waste Action Week?
Saying you’ll cut down wastage is one thing. Cementing it as a daily habit is another.
Whether it’s job commitments, parenting duties or the many challenges life enjoys to bat at us, trying to keep on top of what food is lurking in the fridge can be one extra hassle you don’t need.
But what if decreasing your food waste was broken down into simple steps?
With shelves stacked high of replenishable goods, it’s hard not to load your trolley to avoid more than one shopping trip per week.
And whilst there’s no issue with doing this, buying food without planning how you will use it up before it turns different shades of blue will only increase the likelihood of you throwing at least some of it away.
So before you head into the supermarket fray, take ten minutes to plan meals which use similar ingredients and will help you to get the most out of your produce.
Take peppers, tinned tomatoes, onions and garlic for instance which will provide the basis for chilli con carne, curries and any number of pasta dishes.
Check before you chuck
Research carried out by River Cottage revealed that bread, milk, potatoes, cheese and apples were the top five foods wasted in the UK.
The findings showed that an astonishing 240 million slices of bread are thrown in the bin each year as well as 5.8 million potatoes and 1.3 million apples.
And for what reason?
According to the Food Standards Agency the best-before-end labels on food are actually to determine quality not safety – it’s the use-by-dates you need to adhere to.
That’s not to say you should drink milk which is a few days over but that our fear of consuming anything which is not fresh off the shelf is a tad over the top.
If you’re still uncertain about when exactly your food is off, try to stick to the following:
- Check the use-by-dates of food before you buy
- Cut off mouldy or mushy parts of vegetables instead of throwing it all away
- Use up more perishable foods first
- Abide by your food’s storage instructions
- Cook and freeze your meals before the ingredients go off
Batch cooking is your best friend
Batch cooking seems like one of those chores which will gobble up your precious time when in reality, cooking meals for the next week or even month will actually give you back hours that would have been lost in the kitchen trying to concoct something edible.
And when it comes to cutting down your food waste, batch cooking is ideal – your freezer will ensure meals don’t go off and you can measure portions to limit how much is thrown away.
Speaking of portions…
Control those portions
Insight gathered by WRAP in 2022 found that almost half of food wasted outside of the home was due to portion size.
Over-facing ourselves is just as much a problem at home too and is one of the most common reasons for throwing food away.
To avoid this, start with a small portion and assess your hunger level afterward.
If you’re full, save the leftovers for the next day or freeze them for another time.
Frozen over food waste
With Food Waste Action Week knocking at the door, stocking your freezer with nutritious meals is one of the best ways you can limit the amount you’re throwing away.
Hey Fresto! meals are made with healthy ingredients and portioned just right to leave your belly satisfied and conscience clear. Read more how you can get a balanced diet from your frozen food and some top tips for keeping your freezer in good condition!
Quick, hassle-free and delicious, our meals will benefit you and the planet! Take a look through our full range.