Much of the food we throw away ends up in the bin because we didn’t get round to eating it in time. Small changes, such as using left-over food to make new dishes, storing food correctly and using shopping lists to only buy what you really need, can make a huge difference, saving you money and time (the more you waste, the more top up trips to the shop you’ll have to make). Not only this, but food waste is a huge contributor to climate change, so making the most of it is a simple but powerful act you can make every day.
Check out Love Food Hate Waste for loads of tips for storing food, here are some of our top tips to help you waste less food:
Don't always remove the packaging
Out of habit, many of us take fruit and veg out of its packaging as soon as we get home. Keeping it in its original packaging can keep it fresher for longer. For example, shrink wrapped cucumber will last around five times longer than non-shrink wrapped!
Keep bread out of the fridge
Don’t put bread in the fridge as it goes stale much quicker. Bread stays fresher for longer when you store it in a cool dark place such as a bread bin or a store cupboard. Bread also freezes well, so you can chuck a sliced loaf in the freezer, pull a couple of slices out at a time, and make toast (It’ll just slightly longer to toast)
Keep an eye out for re-closable packs
Look out for re-closable packs to keep your opened food in peak condition for longer. If your pack doesn’t have a re-closable feature, use a bag clip, or put the opened pack in an air- tight container.
Stock up on dried food
Dried food lasts a whole lot longer than fresh and is a great option if you don’t have a freezer. Think pasta, lentils, rice, beans, quinoa, chickpeas…the list is endless
You can freeze almost anything
Did you know you can freeze cheese, eggs, milk, herbs and breadcrumbs?
Confused about labels?
Packaging labels can help you waste less food, but only if you understand them, and let’s face it, they can be confusing!
Food labels are undergoing a lot of change at the moment due to new legislation which is aiming to make them less confusing and more helpful. It’s worth taking a closer look at the label, even for things you buy regularly, as the label may have changed recently.
We’ve listed some changes below which will make things easier for you.
- Retailers are removing ‘display until’ dates so that the important ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ are easier to see, and there is only one date to look at.
- More products now have a ‘best before’ date rather than a ‘use by’ date (for example most hard cheese and many pasteurised fruit juices), giving the flexibility to use the product after the date. Best before simply means that the food will taste better before the date on the label and you can still eat it at a later date. Use by means that you shouldn’t eat the food after the date displayed on the label.
- Most food packs have detailed storage advice, and many are highlighting on the front of pack where to store food to keep it at its best (for example most fresh produce in the fridge).
- Retailers are now moving away from ‘freeze on day of purchase’ guidance to ‘freeze before the use by date’, which means if food isn’t eaten when expected it can be frozen before the date to use at a later date.
- Don’t forget to look out for any recycling information included on the label, which will tell you how to dispose of your packaging and if it can be recycled!
Check out more tips for reducing your waste
Have a look at our other pages for loads more ideas for reducing your waste.