According to a recent report in the Guardian, Britons throw out around £2.1 billion worth of fresh fruit and vegetables a year because they are soft, mouldy or out of date. It’s a timely reminder, as we head towards Stop Food Waste Day on Wednesday 27 April, how much of the food we buy ends up in the bin.
If you visit the event’s website, it reveals that a third of all food produced globally is wasted every year, with 45% of root crops and vegetables produced around the world being thrown away.
When you consider the increasing cost of living, reducing the amount of food you waste might be a clever way to reduce your weekly grocery bill while at the same time helping tackle climate change.
With this in mind, read on to discover 10 shrewd ways to reduce your food waste.
1. Check your fridge’s temperature
While your fridge should run at below 5C, the average UK fridge runs at 6.6C. Reducing the temperature of your fridge could help extend the life of your food by a surprising amount.
Apples, for example, could last for more than 100 days in your fridge, significantly longer than if they’re kept in your fruit bowl.
2. Don’t overbuy
Keeping track of the food you use in the house means you’re less likely to overbuy food that may then go off. You might even want to take a photograph of your fridge or cupboards to remind you what’s in them when you go shopping.
3. Eat “ugly” fruit and vegetables
Don’t shy away from produce that’s not picture-perfect; “ugly” fruit and vegetables can cost less but taste just as good as their good-looking cousins. You might want to see if there is an ugly fruit and veg box scheme in your area, as this might be a more cost-effective way to buy your food and help reduce global food waste.
4. Check the “use by” dates
For fresh food, the “use by” date is the one you need to take notice of. When shopping, pay close attention to this and not “best before” dates, and only buy food you can use before the date expires.
5. Plan your meals
You may want to consider sitting down and thinking about what you’re going to cook in the coming week, and how you’ll use the leftovers to create other meals. You might be surprised at how many dishes you can create out of one, helping reduce waste and cost at the same time.
6. Create soups, sauces, and dips
While leftovers can be turned into delicious soups, any fruit or salads that are slightly overripe could be used to create sauces or dips. For example, avocados are great for guacamole, while tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers can be turned into a wonderful home-made salsa.
7. Keep certain vegetables in water
If you have broccoli, celery or asparagus, a great tip is to keep their stems in water to help them stay fresh and crisp.
8. Measure your portions
One way to reduce your food waste is to work out how much you need and cook only that. By measuring the amount of food you use you’re taking out the guesswork and ensures you always cook the amount you need and no more.
9. Make more of your freezer
If you have leftovers, instead of throwing them away consider putting it in the freezer for another day. It might make an ideal lunch or save you having to cook an evening meal from scratch.
Another way you can use your freezer is to cook batches of food and save them for future meals. This could allow you to measure the food you want and plan your meals, helping avoid cooking too much because you’re rushing at the end of a busy day.
10. Create a shopping list
This will help avoid spontaneous purchases of food that seemed like a great idea, but then goes off and ends up in the waste. Sticking to your carefully thought-out shopping list could help avoid this.
Get in touch
We hope you found this blog useful, and it helps you reduce your food waste and household costs. If you would like to discuss other areas of your finance such as pension, investments or wider wealth, please get in touch.
As specialists in providing women with financial coaching we provide, we aim to help build your confidence and understanding around your wealth. This means you can become more financially independent and comfortable when making financial decisions, ensuring you can look forward to the lifestyle you deserve both now and into the future.
We can be contacted by calling 0116 262 1414 and would be happy to discuss how we can help you.