Food waste is something of a sad topic when taking into consideration that around 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste. In industrialized countries, food losses reach the value of $680 billion and $310 billion in developing countries, if that doesn’t anger you or make you want to take action I don’t know what will. Unfortunately for the regular folk like us, much of the food is wasted before it even comes in the markets and there is nothing we can do about that. However, we can do plenty of things to minimize food that we waste, which in turn will also save us plenty of money.
1.Food saving apps
Food saving apps are something that we must all consider. Olio is an amazing app that allows you to give away food that is edible and it must be either raw or cooked. This app can be used both by individual and companies. By using apps like Olio you make sure that your part in saving food is done. While many of us don’t throw food every day, but in holidays like Christmas the food waste goes through the roof and what better way is there to get in the Christmas spirit of giving rather than helping those in need with the most essential thing that they need.
2.Share with friends or family
There are times when we go to the market and we buy just too much food, either by accident or we see a deal that is too good to pass so we buy that extra 3kg of potatoes without actually needing them and knowing well that we will not be able to eat them before they get spoiled. Whenever that happens you can simply give it to your friends or your extended family. I promise you that they will feel grateful for it rather than feeling offended. I have had plenty of experiences where extended family members saw this as a great gesture. This is definitely a win-win situation.
3.Don’t buy in bulk
Buying in bulk means that you will absolutely waste that food unless you’re cooking for 10 people. You absolutely don’t need to buy 5kg of apples if you know that realistically you will not be able to eat them before they perish. Buying large quantities just to save a couple of Dollars or Euros is irresponsible, especially when you take into consideration that in Europe 95 to 115 kg per capita are wasted every year. If we do the math, that is around 300 grams of food being thrown every day.
4.Compost the remains
Composting isn’t the first that should come to mind if we think of cutting food waste. This must be used as a last resort because the first thing that we must do is donate it or feed it to livestock. Composting the remains of some foods can turn them into great fertilizers. This isn’t a very complicated process and with a simple Google search, you can learn how to do it at home without much hassle.
Shopping smart is something that each and every one of us can do. Every time you go to the grocery store know exactly what are you going to buy and the quantity that you want to buy, don’t buy food just because you see it there and you think that you will get a great deal out of it. Whenever you feel like buying food that you’re not exactly sure you’ll be able to eat it before it perishes, think of the fact that in rich countries, consumers waste more than 222 million tons each year.
6.Visit the grocery store often
Going to the grocery store to buy groceries shouldn’t be a trip that has to be done only once a month. Doing it more often would help you with buying smaller quantities of food that will last for a shorter period of time. This will prevent hoarding food which is a problem that many households have.
7. Don’t over-serve food
Many of us have the habit of overserving food, especially when we have friends or family over. In some cultures, this is seen as a sign of respect, however, this just means that more food will be wasted. Using smaller plates can help with this. You can do this even when you’re cooking only for yourself, there are many people that will eat as much as they put in their plate, so putting smaller portions can also help you stop eating more than you need.
8. Don’t throw your leftovers away
It’s understandable that when cooking something many times you will have leftovers even after eating the meal. However, it is just unacceptable throwing food that has not perished, and it is still edible. You can always freeze them and put them in the refrigerator, in that way you can consume them later.
9. Store food where you’re supposed to
This is very important, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Not every fruit or vegetable requires to be in the fridge, there are veggies and fruits that need the room temperature. For example, apples should be kept at room temperature, the same thing can be said about tomatoes. However, vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli should be kept in the refrigerator.
10. Keep your food visible in the fridge
By keeping your food visible in the fridge means that when you have leftovers always put them to the front and keep your fridge organized and neat. By doing this, there is a bigger chance that you will see the food that you have there, and you will remember that even though it’s in the fridge, it will not last forever, so it has to be consumed before it perishes.
11. Don’t always pay attention to expiration dates
Expiration dates aren’t meant to always be taken that rigorously. You should see them more as guidelines rather than strict rules. There are many products that can be eaten even beyond their expiration dates. You just simply have to use your sense of smell, sight, and taste to be the judge of that. While I am not saying that you should always use some products that should be thrown away, but for most of the things that we eat, we can always rely on our sense of taste to know if they are still edible or not.
12.Write down every item that you throw away
This can also be considered as a little experiment. Take a pen and notepad and write in it everything that you throw away. After a month look at the results, and you will see how much food you have actually just thrown away. This will definitely help you understand how much food you need to buy every time you go shopping, and it will help you decrease the amount of food that you throw away. It is trial and error, the first month you will see how much you throw away and the next month you can try and learn from those mistakes and in the process, you will end up throwing a lot less food away and also spending less money.
This should be something that many of us do. If you have taken all the steps that we have mentioned over here, and you still have excess food you can still donate it. There are plenty of charities or food banks that would be more than happy to take anything that you have, raw or cooked, as long as it is edible. There are food banks and charities all over the world and just remember that when you give food, you’re directly impacting the life of someone.
14. Preserve food
You can easily learn how to can, pickle, ferment, freeze food. These processes will help you cut your food waste massively and also you can eat plenty of things that you don’t usually eat. You can create applesauce with apples that you can enjoy it for quite some time. Pickling is a process that has been used for thousands of years now and it isn’t a complicated process. I always remember growing up that in my family there were always pickles that were made by mom and the entire process only would take a day, while we enjoyed them for months.
15. Plan your meals
Plan what you are going to eat. A simple and quite effective way of doing it is to plan every Sunday what are you going to eat the next week. In this way, you will know what products you need to buy and after you do this for some weeks you will also know how much food you need to buy for the upcoming week. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it weekly, you can do it once every two weeks or whatever period suits you.