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6 Creative ways to reduce food waste

6 Creative ways to reduce food waste

The UK has a bad reputation when it comes to wasting food, but it's not a lost cause. Follow these tips to reduce food waste in your household and save money

The UK doesn’t have the best reputation regarding food waste. Part of this issue may stem from lifelong habits, considering that households unfortunately make up about 70 per cent of the 9.5 million tonnes of food wasted annually, which contributes to about 8 per cent of global emissions. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to change these unsustainable habits around, so that you can easily reduce unnecessary waste and save a pretty penny along the way.  

"It’s easy to learn how to change these unsustainable habits around"

Here to help is the team from Oda, Europe’s most efficient and environmentally sound e-grocer, sharing a few pro tips to help you get the most out of your wallet and grocery shop, all in one go. 

1. Plan your meals and shop your fridge 

When you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to eat, it’s easy to pick up more than you need, especially when items are on offer. It might seem like a great short-term option, but it can cause you to spend much more money in the long term, resulting in unnecessary food waste as these impulse buys might not have a place in your weekly snacks and meals.  

Meal prep

Meal prep can be a great way to reduce waste

Planning your meals for the week in advance can be a great way to avoid this issue altogether. Work out what you plan to eat and when, and how much of each item you’ll need per recipe. Planning and meal prep makes it easier to stick to a list at the supermarket, whether you’re shopping online or in-person, so that you can get only what you need—both saving your money and reducing the potential for food waste.  

2. Store your products correctly 

While it may seem like a lot of the fruit and vegetables spoil before you get around to eating them, there are many unknown tips that can help to keep produce fresh. For example, potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables last longest if they are kept in the dark. Fresh fruit and vegetables, like grapes, avocados or onions shouldn’t be kept with ethylene-producing products (including bananas, apples and kiwis) as they make other fresh produce ripen and rot more quickly.  

You can also find many ways to keep your perishables fresh by using water. For example, while items like limp carrots, leafy veg and even some herbs wilt before they’re truly expired, submerging them in ice cold water and patting them dry will help them perk up in no time.  

"Learning the best way to store perishables is a sure-fire way to make everything last longer"

Another way to use water is to store half cut vegetables—such as carrots, celery, potatoes—in water in the fridge, to help them last longer than if they were stored dry. Overall, learning the best way to store perishables is a sure-fire way to make everything last longer, and stretch your grocery budget a little bit further. 

3. Get creative with leftovers 

For those times when planning fails you and you end up with leftover meals in your fridge, instead of throwing them out, think about inventive ways to transform them.  

Italians, for example, fry leftover rice and it becomes arancini. Try out a traditional recipe, or consider something more exotic, like making egg-fried rice, which is actually intended to be made with day-old rice.  

When you make spaghetti bolognese, instead of forgetting about the leftover sauce, pop it in a jacket potato for an easy, low-effort dinner the next day. And don't forget about the scraps! Think twice before you toss items like meat bones, which form the perfect basis for stock or a soup throughout the winter

4. Utilise your freezer 

Freezer food doesn’t have to mean oven chips and potato waffles. Freezing fresh produce is another great way to reduce food waste caused by rotting. Keep fruit in the freezer and use it in smoothies or on top of your breakfast, add frozen vegetables to stir fries and curries.

Frozen berries

Make the most of your freezer!

Sometimes, fruits which you buy frozen—such as berries—actually have a higher nutritional value than their fresh alternatives because they are preserved right after they are picked, when their concentration of nutrients is highest.

You can even freeze a loaf of bread and toast slices as and when you need them. This is a great way to ensure that you don’t let your bread go mouldy—particularly as baked goods make up a large proportion of food waste.

5. Use your senses  

Of the millions of tonnes of food wasted, almost three quarters could still be eaten, meaning that the food is not spoiled, and is fine for consumption.  

“Best before” dates are often the culprit of misconceptions around when food should be consumed, as many people aren’t aware they are suggestions, rather than rules. In fact, these dates are mainly used by supermarkets to track when an item should no longer be displayed, not for consumers to use as a timeline.  

"When it comes to consuming food, use your senses: look at and smell the food"

In contrast, however, the “use by” date refers to the last date a food is fit for consumption, and should be heeded for safety. When it comes to consuming food, use your senses: look at and smell the food. If it is odourless and looks fine, the produce is more than likely completely fit to be eaten and enjoyed. 

6. Track your trash 

Do you find that you get into the habit of buying the same things every single time you set foot in the supermarket, yet every week you have things you throw away? A good way of avoiding food waste is to note down the products which end up in the bin time and time again, so that you can avoid buying them (or so much of them) in the future.

Throwing leftovers away

Do you find yourself throwing the same things away over and over again?

This way, you can break the shopping patterns which contribute to food waste, and which waste your money.

Need Fresh Food Supplies?

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