10 different ways to reduce food waste

10 different ways to reduce food waste
Today Explained: How to Cut Down on Food Waste

When it comes to food waste, we can all do our bit to try and make our food last longer.

Over a third of all food that's produced globally get thrown away, according to the UN Environment Programme, and in 2018, the UK produced around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste.

While that's a 15 per cent reduction from 2007, as per charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), there a number of things we can do to reduce this number even further.

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Plus, with the cost of living crisis, food prices rose at their fastest rate last year (price inflation to record annual rate of 11.6 per cent in October)causing households to look for ways to be more efficient with their food.

From understanding labels, to nifty TikTok hacks, along with apps and deals - here are 10 ways to help reduce your food waste.

The difference between 'use by' vs 'best before' dates

The 'use by' date is on the label to inform us whether a product still safe to eat. The use-by date is usually found on perishable foods such as chilled meat, dairy, and ready-made meals, according to EUFIC.

Advice: Don't stock up and only purchase when needed to reduce food waste.

'Best before' dates are more flexible than use by date and as food like dried beans, lentils, and pasta can be safely eaten after this date - however the quality might not be as good with a change in the taste, aroma or appearance.

Check fridge temperature

Ensuring your fridge is the perfect temp is important to keep food fresh iStockphoto by Getty Images

Your fridge should have a temperature of somewhere between 0-5°C in order to prevent dairy products, from going off.

Plan ahead

Knowing what meals you are going to make in advance means you know exactly what quantity of ingredients you need, and also plan what to do if there are leftovers.

Viral TikTok hacks

Nowadays, content creators are sharing their hacks to reduce food waste on TikTok, with many of them becoming popular, going viral and starting a trend - the hashtag "reduce food waste" currently has 59.9m views.

Here are some of the most-watched videos on the different ways we can be more resourceful with our food:

Revive stale bread with water


From hard as a rock to fresh as a daisy - revive your stale bread using this simple tip. I recommend enjoying it warm with a lot of butter! #stalebreadhack #stalebread #rubbishcooksathome #rubbishcooks #foodwaste #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #scrappycooking #foodwastewarriors #sustainability

Making use of veggie scraps


Stop throwing out all of your vegetable scraps, just make veg stock! #CleaningHacks #foodwaste #theeugefood #tiktokcooks #vegetables

Keeping berries fresh for longer


All you need is paper towels and a mason jar! With juicing I buy a lot of produce. 🍓🫐Berries are the fastest to spoil so this is what I do to make sure I have fresh berries for up to 2 weeks. Don’t wash prior! Once you are ready to use open jar and wash them. Hope this helps! #jucing #juicingtips #strawberries #juicingforhealth #produce #juicingtiktok

Freeze, freeze, freeze!

The freezer is your best friend when it comes to reducing food waste iStockphoto by Getty Images

Freezing is a handy way to preserve food if you're not going to consume it straight away, and can safely store a variety of foods such as bread, cooked pasta and rice, meat, and fruit.

Though be aware that it is recommended not to keep foods in the freezer for longer than nine months to a year (but this depends on the type of food).

For the tastiest results, frozen leftovers should be used within three months, according to EUFIC.

The different types of mould

Knowing the different types of mould can help prevent food waste - here's what to do when you see mould on certain foods:

Hard foods should be safe to eat once the mouldy part and the surrounding area is removed, the EUFIC.

Food: hard cheeses, hard cured meats (such as salami and ham) and firm fruits and vegetables (such as cabbages bell peppers, root vegetables), according to EUFIC.

Soft foods should be thrown out once they start to mould because the mould can spread which we may not be able to see.

Food: cooked leftovers, soft cheeses, yoghurts and other dairy products, bread, jams and soft fruits and veggies (such as cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes, berries and so on).

Too Good To Go

Enjoy reduced meals and prevent food waste with Too Good To Go Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is an app that "connects users with businesses that have surplus food so that this food can be enjoyed instead of wasted."

Everyone wins all around since customers get reduced prices, businesses reach new customers and recover sunk costs, and overall there's less food being wasted.

Those signed up include the likes of cafes such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, and 200 Degrees to restaurants like Wasabi, YO! Sushi, and Tim Hortons - plus grocery stores Marks & Spencer, One Stop, Morrisons and Central Co-op, there's plenty of choice on offer.

To see what businesses are signed up in your area, simply download the app to find out.

Gopuff's GoBags

Gopuff recently launched GoBags as a way to reduce food waste Photo by THOMAS URBAIN/AFP via Getty Images

In a bid to help stamp out household food waste, delivery service Gopuff has launched GoBags – mixed bags of produce coming to the end of their shelf-life, available to purchase nationwide at a fraction of the cost.

There are four GoBags available to purchase on Gopuff:

  • Reduced to Clear - Fruit & Veg - Sold for £3. Contains products for the value of £6
  • Reduced to Clear - Mixed Grocery (Non-Meat/Veg) - Sold for £5. Contains products for the value of £10
  • Reduced to Clear - Meat & Fish - Sold for £3. Contains products for the value of £6
  • Reduced to Clear - Mixed Grocery (with Meat) - Sold for £5. Contains products for the value of £10

On average, Gopuff’s GoBags sell out within 1-2 hours each day, so customers are encouraged to act fast to secure their bag!

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