5 Tips to stop wasting food!
Did you know that in the Netherlands we don’t even touch a quarter of all our food? While all this food goes to waste, we still put a lot of energy into it. This food is grown, processed, transported, cooled, and heated! All this energy is warming up the earth. This makes it all the more important that we waste as little food as possible, but we can only do that together. Therefore, you can participate in the Waste Free Week from 12 to 18 September. Everyone who eats can make an impact. Simply by not forgetting your leftovers and eating them. A simple act for a better planet
What would happen if all the people in the Netherlands didn’t waste any food for just one week? Well, we would save 23 million (!) full meals reducing our CO2 emissions by over 40 million kilograms. In comparison, it would take a forest the size of 8,000 soccer pitches to remove this amount of CO2 from the air. This alone shows why it is so important to be thoughtful with our food and what we eat. We understand that it is not always easy to reduce your food waste. That is why we share 5 tips on how you can be more aware of your food and reduce waste!
1. Check your pantry. What expires first?
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Out of sight, out of mind”. This is also true when it comes to food. By having your pantry and fridge organized, you can help avoid food spoilage. This way it is easy to spot what you already have, and when they were purchased. A good way to keep track of what is in your pantry you can use the “FIFO” method. FIFO stands for “First in, First out”. For example, when you buy a new carton of milk, place the newer package behind the old one. This helps to ensure that food closer to the expiration date gets used first and does not get wasted.
2. Plan ahead and make a shopping list
Most people tend to buy more than they actually need. The solution: a shopping list! It saves you time, money, stress, and food waste. Plenty of reasons to use a shopping list! You buy fewer things you don’t need and go through the store more easily. And by planning ahead, you don’t have to shop for groceries as often.
To reduce waste, make it a habit to use up all the food you purchased during your last grocery run, before going again. Create a meal planning at the beginning of each week so you know what you need and more important, what not to buy!
3. Eat or freeze before the expiration date
Sometimes we buy so much, that we cannot manage to eat it all before expiration dates. Maybe life gets in the way sometimes, which prevents us to eat a home-cooked meal. In that case, start to get friendly with your freezer! Freezing food is one of the easiest ways to preserve it.
For example, vegetables that are a bit too soft to be used in your favorite salad can be put in freezer-safe bags or containers. Now they can be used for your favorite smoothie at a later date!
The types of food that are appropriate for freezing are nearly endless. You can freeze leftovers from meals, certain vegetables, and bulk meals such as soups and chili. Our personal favorite is to freeze some pasta sauce to be used later on. The perfect meal for when you actually have no time to cook! Freezing food is a great way to ensure you always have a healthy, home-cooked meal available.
4. Love your leftovers
Leftovers aren’t just for the day after a holiday. Often we make more food than we actually eat for dinner. Although many people save this leftover food, it is often forgotten in the fridge. As a result, it goes bad and we have to throw it away. Storing leftovers in a glass or see through container, rather than an opaque container, helps ensure you don’t forget the food. Also, make sure that you put the container with leftovers in a highly visible place, so every time you open the fridge, you see the container with leftovers.
If you happen to cook a lot and regularly have leftovers, plan a day in the week to use all the leftovers accumulating in your fridge. As an extra benefit, this saves you time and money!
5. Look, smell, taste
“Sell by” and “expires on” are just two confusing terms that you can find on food packaging. Companies use these labels to indicate when the product will most likely go bad and it cannot be sold anymore. In reality, however, most food that has just passed its expiration date is still safe to eat.
‘Best before’ indicates the quality of the product, while a ‘use by’ date guarantees food safety. The ‘use by’ date is the latest date you can eat or freeze the product. But after the ‘best before’ date has passed, you can still eat the product just fine if you have stored it properly and you do a sensory check. Does the product still look good, is the smell still normal and does it taste good? Then you can still use the product just fine!
The confusion around different expiration dates is responsible for 10% of all food waste in Europe. That is equivalent to nine million tons of food.