Food waste is a big problem: an estimated 30% of food produced is thrown away, which is ridiculous considering how many people in the world go to bed hungry every night. It’s also an environmental issue: most food that is thrown away ends up in landfills, and produces the greenhouse gas methane, so food waste is a major contributor to climate change. By decreasing the amount of food you throw away you will not only help lessen the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, but also save some money.
Think before buying in bulk
We often hear that we should buy food in bulk, because it’s cheaper. Buying in bulk is good for foods with a long shelf life that can be stored for weeks or months without going bad. Think dry goods like flour, sugar, oats, nuts, seeds, and the like. However fruit and veggies generally go off quicker, and although it might seem cheaper to buy a few kilos at once, we often don’t have enough storage space and can’t eat them quickly enough. The good news is that your DayToDay meal boxes contain pre-portioned ingredients – so you’re only buying what you need to make the delicious recipes and you won’t be wasting anything!
A quick Google search will show you countless ingenious ways to compost your food scraps, whether you have a huge garden or live in a small flat. Instead of throwing out your food waste with the rest of your rubbish where it may end up in a landfill, you can produce compost, a valuable nutritious product for your plants. And if you don’t have plants you can always donate it.
Learn the difference between sell by, best before and use by
The FAO released a report about food waste and climate change a few years ago, and concluded that in higher income households one of the biggest contributors to food waste is “arbitrary sell-by dates.” Many people see the terms “sell by”, “use by”, and “best before” as synonymous and as soon as the date printed on the pack comes around they toss the food. But by learning the difference between these terms we could potentially prevent plenty of food being wasted.
- Use by – usually found on meat and dairy products that are high risk for food safety. One the use by date is reached you should not eat as it could cause food poisoning.
- Best before – often found on sauces, canned food, pasta, herbs and spices, these foods can be eaten past the best before date without posing a food safety risk. Their quality, like taste, texture, and vitamin content, just might not be as good.
- Sell by – this is more a guideline for the retailer of how long the food can sit on their shelves. But this date often causes confusion to the consumer and so many people have suggested it be abolished.
Buy ugly fruit and vegetables
Do you tend to pick the most perfect looking produce, instead of going for the crooked, wonky, misshapen ones? The other major contributor to food waste recognised by the FAO was “aesthetic preferences.” Imperfect looking fruit and vegetables have the same nutritional value and taste, so even if they don’t look as pretty, they’re still good for you.