Hot off the heals of the ABC series War on Waste- let’s chat food sustainability. Did you know that Australians waste $10 billion in food every year? We are essentially putting $1000 into the rubbish bin every year! I can think of better things that I could be using the money for, can’t you? (*imagining brunch, coffee, handbags and shoes)
So, why are we wasting so much food? One of the biggest culprits is grocery shopping without having a shopping list or doing a weekly meal plan beforehand. This leads us to buy more food than we actually need. Everyone loves the 2 for 1 deals at the supermarket, right? The supermarket’s clever marketing tricks. Cooking too much food and not knowing what to do with the leftovers is another reason why we throw away so much perfectly edible food. Many people mistakenly throw away good food, due to confusion about Use-By and Best Before dates on packaged food. Before I move on, I’ll just quickly clear up any confusion about these terms;
These labels are generally found on foods that perish quickly (i.e fresh dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream). The food can be safely eaten before this date but should be thrown out after this date has passed.
Best before date
This label indicates that the food is of the highest quality prior to the best before date but can still be safely eaten after this date.
A few easy tips to reduce the amount of foods thrown away:
- Look through cupboards and fridge before going grocery shopping and make weekly meal plan and a list of the items that you need. This simple trick will help you to save money, reduce waste and most importantly make colourful food choices.
- A few days before you plan to do the grocery shopping, make meals that use up all the little bits and pieces in your fridge and pantry to avoid doubling up on items that you already have. Our chicken and corn soup or leftover soup are favourite recipes to cook as they are chock full of colourful vegetables, nourishing and a fabulous way to use up the veg in your fridge before going shopping.
- Don’t go shopping on an empty belly as you are more likely to buy more food than you need. Why not try one of our crunchy coconut and apricot muesli bars before hitting the shops?
- Aim to have 1 meat free day per week (find vegetarian recipes here). This is is healthy for our bodies and also the environment, and the bank balance too! Meat is expensive to produce and to buy, having a vegetarian day gets us using cheaper protein sources such as beans, lentils and tofu. Also a great way to include lots of colourful fruit and vegetables.
- Use up sad looking veggies and fruit in create ways like smoothies and baking. Enjoy this blog for more tips.
Best of luck on your mission to reduce food wastage. You might also want to consider using less packaging (enjoy this blog on reusable packaging).