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Consumer tips: Reducing food waste

Consumer tips: Reducing food waste

Sep 2, 2014

Lowering your personal/family food waste not only saves money, it reduces your environmental footprint – meaning your family has less negative impact on the planet.

Studies show that around 50% of all food produced across the globe is wasted along the entire supply chain. Most waste happens in developed countries, where food waste per person can be as high as 275 kgs a year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, food waste is estimated to be around 136 kgs per person.

How do you contribute to reducing food waste? The first step is to have a plan. Start by looking at areas you can improve on – and even the smallest saving will have a large impact.

Note what types of foods you consistently throw away and buy those foods in smaller quantities. Instead of buying a packet of tomatoes or onions, buy just four from a local greengrocer or spaza shop

Only buy fresh foods if you have a plan to cook them in the next few days. Otherwise, opt for frozen goods and store them in your freezer until you need them.

If fresh food is at risk of spoiling, cook it and freeze it (or share it with a neighbour or invite friends over!)

Grow as many of the veggies you can at home – even if you live in an apartment with a balcony, container gardening can yield all you need in the way of herbs and salads, saving you money.

When ordering food in restaurants, find out what your plate will contain. If you’ve ordered breakfast, for example, and don’t eat bread, tell your waiter not to give it to you. Anything put on your plate that you don’t eat has to be thrown away – so help the planet a little by taking it home or making sure it’s not on your plate.

Use leftovers – turn not-so-fresh bread into croutons or bread pudding; make a stock from vegetable trimmings or a chicken carcass and freeze it for later use; use meat and veggies from last night’s supper for a quick stir fry tonight; wash, chop and freeze aging fruit and make smoothies for your family.

If you’re lucky enough to have grocery stores nearby – or even a fridge – make the most of both, and cut down on food waste. For the planet and your wallet!

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