Happy Monday readers. December has officially arrived and it is cold! The Christmas season is upon us and shoppers are starting to go a little bit crazy. Today I am delighted to announce that SavvyScot is taking part in a $100 giveaway!
In the spirit of the Christmas season and all the (extra) food that we are about to eat, I am going to discuss leftovers today – i.e. food waste. Before I get going, I want you to consider the following facts:
- There are over 1 billion malnourished people in the world, yet 40 million tonnes of food waste are generated each year in the US alone
- This amounts to approximately 40% of all food that is bought which goes to waste!
- Less than a quarter of this wasted food in Europe and the US could lift all 1 billion people out of malnourishment
- The UK are not much better than the US – they waste approximately 25% of all food and perhaps more shockingly, produce over twice the volume of required food (i.e. lots of people eat too much as well as wasting food)!
- 10% of the green house gases produced by developed world countries is from food that is never eaten
- Up to 35% of school lunches end up in the bin
The facts go on, but I think you get the idea. When researching this post, the thing that really stuck out for me was that a quarter of the wasted food in the western world could prevent the world from starving. It really is quite shocking to think that when we are stuffing our faces this Christmas, that 1 billion people are out there in poverty; with no food.
Dealing with Food Waste
Plan Your Menu
As part of this giveaway series, you will notice that there are a variety of different posts looking at different ways to save money on food shopping. The most simple approach would be to simply buy less food! Although trivial, a lot of people cannot master the art of planning their meals. Mrs Scot and I create our menu a whole week in advance; we search the cupboards and freezer looking for inspiration / pre-cooked meals, before making a list of top-up ingredients that we need to buy. We deal with food waste firstly by planning ahead.
Freeze Freeze Freeze
Although unnecessary in the current sub-zero temperatures in the UK, ensure that you have a decent-sized freezer. If you only have a small freezer box within your fridge, a standalone freezer is a great investment. We keep our freezer stocked with meat (through a combination of bulk-buying at a wholesaler and buying when on special in the shops) and we keep adequate space for additional boxes and bags. We plan meals such that there are always two portions leftover to freeze; We then box up the leftovers and leave to cool. A small tip is to always label boxes clearly so that you know what they contain. There is nothing worse than defrosting something in error and the unwanted food ending up in the bin! Freezing saves both time and money – you can defrost late and will not have to worry about cooking one of your meals next week!
This is probably one of my favourite things to do. I have actually noticed that I sometimes deliberately buy some extra vegetables some weeks in order to make the soup of the week more exciting / different. At the end of each week, I throw all the leftover vegetables (and sometimes leftover meals that are not worth freezing) into a pan and slow cook. A few stock cubes later, the concoction is blasted through the blender and we have a beautiful soup for the next week. Mrs Scot often takes these to work, or we will eat it as a starter with an evening meal. Each week, a unique soup is created and can never be copied again! From spag bol and tomatoes to parsnip, apple and lentils – they are almost guaranteed to be good.
The leftover leftovers
We follow the above three principles quite closely and quite honestly have very little food waste. So much so in fact, that we only ever put our bin out for collection every other week. This Christmas, I will be making an extra special effort to ensure that we don’t buy too much food and plan our meals. It is extra difficult during the holiday season when you go for spontaneous meals or even skip them altogether.
I urge you all to make an attempt to watch your waste too. As cliched as it sounds, just think about those less fortunate than ourselves.
Lecture over, time to get some details on the giveaway. Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to the hosts: Grocery Coupon Network – you can visit their site HERE. You have just short of 12 days to enter and an amazing opportunity to win $100 towards your Christmas shopping! Finally, if you are interested in participating in future giveaways, here are the details. Have a good one guys. SS