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5 Food Waste Reduction Tips

Globally a third of the food produced from farm to fork is wasted. This is shocking when we know how hard our farmers work and how many families struggle with food insecurity. Even more surprising is learning food loss and waste contributes to 8% of global greenhouse emissions. However, it’s heartening to know that reducing food waste is ranked as the third best global solution in addressing climate change.

We have an opportunity in Aotearoa to lead the world in sustainable food production and prevent food from being wasted. Reducing our food waste, is one meaningful action we can do as organisations, communities, families and individuals to combat climate change. So we’ve created a list of 5 tips to reduce your household food waste. This is by no means all you can do, but it’s a great starting point.

Value your Food

Have you ever grown a cauliflower from scratch and known how much time, watering, weeding, pest management, fertilising, harvesting and storing goes into producing that one cauli, and that’s all before it lands on your plate. Farmers across Aotearoa put so much hard mahi and love into producing the high-quality food many of us are privileged to eat. We need to raise our awareness of its value, it’s not just how much we paid for it, but also the land, natural resources and people that have grown it.

Leftovers are one of the foods on Love Food Hate Waste’s list of ten of the most commonly wasted food items and we’re on a mission to get Kiwis to learn to value those leftovers. They can be used for lunch next day or repurposed for a completely different meal - we’ve loads of ideas here to prevent them ending up in the bin.

Here are some leftover meal ideas. Love Food Hate Waste has plenty of other ideas to reduce waste from these food items.

Meal Plan & Save

For those that get the occasional meal kit delivered, have you ever noticed how there is so much less food waste? That’s because you’ve let someone else plan your meals for you. Meal planning enables you to buy only what you need and in the process saves money, makes meal prep a breeze (because we all know the issue is often what to cook every night, not the actual task of cooking) and the bonus is there is less food waste going to land fill at the end of the week.

To help with this task we’ve got an amazing new digital Meal Planner on recipes.co.nz ready for you to use – so no excuses! Click here for even more tips on meal planning.

The freezer is your friend

As can be seen from the infographic above fruit, vegetables and bread are in the top 10 most wasted food items. Not buying more than you need, knowing how best to store your fruit and vegetables, and freezing food where possible all helps reduce food waste. Some simple tips include:

  1. Keep sliced bread in the freezer, only taking out what you need.
  2. When cooking you often have a half tin of tomato or curry paste leftover, rather than pop it in the fridge where it’s likely to go mouldy, label it and pop it in the freezer ready to use another time.
  3. Washed vegetable peelings, the green tops of celery and leek can be frozen fresh and dug out to cook up in a stock.
  4. Bananas and avocado can be cut up and frozen, ready for those smoothies on-the-go.
  5. Always freeze your meat before its use by date and for safety tips and know-how on freezing meat click here.

Not sure of what can go in the freezer – take this quiz and find out.

Composting is the new cool

Actually it’s usually a hot process but we haven’t the space to give you a composting 101 session. Suffice to say composting is a natural way of stopping food scraps ending up in landfill and in the process it produces wonderful fertiliser for your garden.

Try composting, but first do your research and find a system that works for you – whether it be a worm farm, composting unit or a compost heap, your space and time will determine this. With meat and fish food scraps making up 13% of food going to landfill and half of this being non-edible, investing in a Bokashi system can take care of smaller bones as well as leftover cooked food (best not put in the compost).

With composting becoming as popular as sales of air-fryers you’ll find composting courses across the motu.

Choose mindfully when eating out

Although the restaurant menu may have you salivating at the mouth and ready to say ‘bring it on’, restraint is key. We’re not suggesting for a minute you leave hungry, but try not to order more food than you can eat. A large amount of food wasted in hospitality is from customers plates and it breaks a chef’s heart to throw good food in the bin.

Your waiting staff are right there to help you – ask them: How large is this dish? Have we ordered enough or too much? And if you end up with leftovers, don’t be whakamā (shy), ask for a takeout box (or be prepared with your own container), there’s nothing better than fancy leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you work in hospitality check out this inspiring video with ideas on how your establishment can do their part to reduce food waste, or read the blog here.

For more ideas, recipes and practical tips on how to reduce food waste visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz

Posted by Regina Wypych

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