Let’s talk food waste

“Reducing food waste is actually one of the biggest things you can do for the environment, because about a third of the food that people buy is wasted,” Tuomisto says. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation reports that 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is wasted each year.

So I just wanted to share a bit about our shopping habits. But before I start…please remember this is a journey. We’ve got a long way to go and we’re far from perfect but my gosh we’re learning a lot. Wherever you are in your journey to be less wasteful, I hope you find some of this interesting and please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The heart of our food shopping habits is the awesome Preston Market. We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep and have been shopping here since I was a student in 2009. We’ve now also got a re-fill shop near us too called Turtle Bee, but more on that in another post!

Just because we have access to a food market, doesn’t mean we’re automatically reducing our food waste. However there’s a few key areas which I think shopping somewhere like this is really helpful in our journey. The biggest I would say is being able to buy exactly what you need (and that goes hand in hand with planning) so if we just need 1 carrot that week, so be it! I’m a sucker for an offer and multi buys so essentially stick me in a supermarket and I’ll leave with approximately £30 of items which I just don’t need. Now shopping local doesn’t eliminate food waste by any means and there’s plenty of ways shopping in the supermarket you can help to reduce waste too. There’s some habits we’ve changed over time and a lot of it is in your mindset, these are areas we’re constantly working on. I’m going to start sharing some of the small things we do to use up things which may have once gone in the bin but for now here’s a few pointers to start you off.

  • Menu Planning – on a good week we’ve planned a ‘menu’ for the week and a correlating shopping list and we only buy what’s on it. In an absolute blinder of a week we do this AND we’ve looked in the cupboards properly to see what we already have and base meals around this. On an average week it’s somewhere in the middle. We certainly haven’t perfected this yet but we’ve been doing it long enough to know that it makes a difference. There’s weeks where we totally make it up and yes lockdown/ covid has been a challenge on the motivation front. But as with all these things, it’s not about trying to do things perfectly. We’re human so perfection isn’t something we can achieve, cut yourself some slack (talking to myself here!)
  • Local/ seasonal produce – knowing what’s in season is helpful, I have a lovely illustration on the kitchen wall. A good place to look is here or if you’re on Instagram then Too Good To Go post seasonal UK produce each month. So how does this help reduce food waste? Well I think that buying produce in season means its fresher and lasts longer and often means less packaging too. Buy soft fruit grown down the road or even just in the UK somewhere versus something which has been shipped a long way and there’s no prizes for guessing which is likely to last longer.
  • Love your freezer – learn what you can freeze, get a good labelling system (we seriously need to work on this!) and if in doubt – freeze it! I’m sure that’s bad advice but what I mean is often you don’t have time to utilise things there and then but it might be handy next week or next month. Herbs is a big one for our freezer, we have an entire drawer dedicated! Either freshly cut from the garden or when you purchase fresh herbs from the shops – if you’re using in a couple of days that’s fine but if not wash and pop in the freezer. Then simply use from frozen!

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful – please let me know! And I’ll definitely be sharing more on this topic soon so watch this space.