Updated: Apr 27, 2021
With many problems in the world at the moment it’s hard to feel as though we can make a difference. But we can. Food waste is a big issue in the UK and the heart of it is at home. There are all sorts of stages at which food is unfortunately wasted - during the harvesting process some get lost, a lot of food doesn't make the cut to earn itself a place on a shop shelf and then even if a fabulous bit of food does make it that far, it isn't guaranteed to be used to its full potential...
UK households account for 70% of annual food waste. 68% of this food waste (4.5 million tonnes) is food bought with the intention to eat. But, it is then forgotten about and left to perish in our fridges & cupboards.
Imagine what we could be done with £14 billion if it wasn’t literally thrown in the bin
Good news is, the power to change this is in our hands! We can make small changes within our daily lives to reduce the shockingly huge amount of food that is wasted each year. Imagine what we could be done with £14 billion if it wasn’t literally thrown in the bin. So here is a little guide to show you what small things can be introduced and changed to make a huge difference to our planet.
GPF’s Top Tips to reduce food waste:
Plan Plan Plan
Planning what meals you are going to make and writing a list of the food you intend to use before heading to the shops is a great way to make sure you don’t over-buy at the supermarket. It means the food we pick up is much more likely to be utilised and not forgotten in the back of the fridge.
Check the dates
When shopping always double check the use-by date. And then once its home check it again so you definitely know whats what in the fridge and when you need to cook the meals you have planned.
Use up leftovers - it's time to get creative!
Getting creative with leftovers can be so so fun! I usually always either have leftover dinner for lunch or a mashup of different meals to create something I would never ever have thought of cooking off hand. It’s a fantastic way to mix up new flavour combos and explore the ingredients we have around us even further than usual. And let's face it… nothing can turn out too bad!
Your freezer is your Friend
At uni I am renowned for being the freezer queen. I will literally freeze anything. I have however learnt a lot in my time as chief freezer housemate. Chopping food before freezing it will make life a whole lot easier when you want to get it out the freezer to use (trust me... I broke my one and only knife trying to cut up a frozen chicken breast). Whether it’s chicken, fruit or cheese chopping/grating and portioning before freezing is the way forward. Labelling food will also save you a whole lot of time and detective work! And finally freezing batched cooked meals can be a saviour on a cold and rainy day or when you really really just can’t be bothered to cook/have had a heavy night.
Cook it up - jams, banana breads, carrot cakes, crumbles, soups and more
If you have let a few ingredients age a little then try not to discard it straight away. Ripe/overripe fruit and veg can make the best cakes and baked goods. Crumbles, banana cake, carrot cake and so many more family favourites can be whipped up with the softies. Same can be said for a bit of homemade jam or soup. I mean can you beat homemade soup, no?! Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavours. Just chuck em all together and see what you end up with. It’s a whole lot better than the bin!
Keep an eye out on the insta feed. I’ll be sure to let you all know when leftovers or food saved just in time has been used up. I’ve linked a few recipes below which are perfect for ageing food
BBC Good Food Brilliant Banana Loaf: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/brilliant-banana-loaf
Jamie Oliver's fruit jam: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/incredible-homemade-strawberry-jam/
Seriously Good Vegetable Soup: https://cookieandkate.com/vegetable-soup-recipe/
Hairy Biker's Crumble: https://www.hairybikers.com/recipes/view/apple-crumble
Feasting at Home Pasta Sauce: https://www.feastingathome.com/roasted-tomato-sauce/
Greedy Pig Food Courgette, Pea, Potato & Basil Soup: https://www.greedypigfood.co.uk/post/a-soup-in-season
BBC Good Food Pumpkin Hummus: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pumpkin-houmous
Oh She Glows Pumpkin Seeds: https://ohsheglows.com/2012/09/17/how-to-roast-perfect-pumpkin-seeds-easy-crunchy-addictive/
A Beautiful Mess Pumpkin Butter: https://abeautifulmess.com/overnight-pumpkin-butter/