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Monday, 21 October 2013

Wasting food? Couldn't care less? Do care but not sure what to do?

I'm sure all of us waste some food in the week though various avenues, over buying - duplicate buying - over tempted by supermarket offers that lead to waste in the end as the food doesn't get eaten.

According to a recent report we consumers and the stores from which we buy are all throwing away far too much food and drink. Tesco seem to be leading the way in dealing with the problem and are planning to resolve some of the portion issues that lead us to chuck away uneaten food.

'Today, Tesco have published their food waste figures and want to help customers to save £700 per year on wasted food. Love Food Hate Waste has been working closely with Tesco on this, why not check out their website for more hints and tips to help everyone to waste less and save money?'

Personally I hate food waste and will do my best not to bin food items or to buy in things I know may go to waste if not eaten within a given time.

The best source of advice, I have found, is the excellent company and website where they not only highlight the wastage that happens in the average household but also suggest some great meal ideas to help us deal with what we do with food. Additionally they offer advice on storage and tips for portion control.

Considering the average family throw away over £700 worth of food a year all this great advice is worth considering if not for ourselves then for the planet too. Do visit their site.

Love Food, Hate Waste: 'We throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. It's costing us £12bn a year and is bad for the environment too.


Jean said...

I find it easier not to waste food now I'm not working and have more time to think about what we have in stock, what else I might need and to plan how I use it.
I think the supermarkets are operating double standards here. They have been happy to sell us more than we need for a long time because that meant more profit, but now they like to be seen to be selling food responsibly. Large packs, multibuys and offers are tempting but unless you're very organised it's hard to use it all up.
I can actually see the beauty of ready meals for many people - buy it already prepared, portions controlled, heat it up, eat it, get on with life and no waste. Perfect in a way !!

Karen said...

It's a very interesting link, which I will look at in more detail later. I try not to waste much food, but occasionally something will go bad in the fridge (mouldy grapes, out of date salad leaves) & then I have no choice. Shopping in a supermarket invariably takes ages as I peruse the 'use by' dates with great care, making sure anything I buy has the longest possible dates on it. Although sometimes I take a risk - I have clotted cream in the fridge which says 'use by 19 Oct' but it tasted fine tonight, & there is some I will use tomorrow! I cannot understand dates on bags of apples, as they last for ages, & any which go too soft to eat I put in the garden for the blackbirds. Bread is mostly frozen when bought, or if not, any stale bits are turned into breadcrumbs & frozen. The veg I have a problem with are spuds, which tend to sprout, even though I keep them in my cool pantry in the dark, with an apple which is supposed to prevent sprouting, & carrots, which often turn soft wether kept in the fridge or not.

Jean said...

I meant to add that food waste has always been with us, it's what we do with it that's different.
When I was a child, leftover scraps went to the dog, cat, chickens or neighbour's pigs and unused veg went on the compost heap. So it was effectively put to good use. It's called recycling now. These days we chuck it in the bin.

There was, I think, less waste as people didn't buy more than they needed for the next few days. This habit began in the 70's when supermarkets appeared, people started shopping less often and buying more food at one time. Then the little shops (butchers for example) went out of business at the same time as more women went out to work, creating a situation where supermarkets thrived as people shopped weekly instead of almost daily.
When I was a child we had a baker, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer and hardware van that toured the small villages. They stopped coming when women were no longer at home to buy from them, so we lost another option for buying just enough for the next day or two.

At the risk of going on a bit.....
I also think it's partly due to the way people are paid. Most people are better off than in the 50's or 60's, but when people were paid weekly in cash it was easier to keep tabs on what was being spent on food. Now that most people are paid into their bank accounts and they shop using their credit cards money is less visible so it's easy to overspend buy buying more than you need and to be tempted to buy things that are more expensive or that you really don't need. All of which plays beautifully into the hands of the supermarkets, who employ droves of people to think of ways to make sure we do this. (And to the banks who encourage us to use credit cards.)

Food waste is a complex issue and whilst most of us do it and know we shouldn't, it's hard to see how to reverse the problem. I'm not sure that the supermarkets playing lip service to the concept of less waste will make that much difference.

Christopher Frost said...

I think some of the problem lies in the 'sell by' and 'best before' dates.

As Karen said, she had some cream tonight that was supposedly 3 days out of date, but still fine. I'm sure they just put these dates on so people will eat them quicker and so buy more.

Perhaps supermarkets should be more honest with dates. Food doesn't miraculously go off at midnight when the date changes. Think most food is probably edible at least a week after the guide date