This month it emerged that in the UK, a staggering eight billion pounds worth of food goes to waste, which equates to 6.7 million tones. Those are scary statistics that are echoed in many other countries around the world. This effects us two ways. Firstly, with food prices rising dramatically at the moment, itís a very good idea to start looking at whether we can be more efficient with what we eat, thus wasting less and saving money. Secondly, all that wasted food typically ends up on landfills thus producing the greenhouse gas methane, on top of all the damage the excess packaging and transporting causes. Itís with all this in mind that Iíve compiled an introductory list of habits you can develop in your life that will help you to stop wasting food so as to save money and be environmentally friendly.
Eat out less
Eating out can be great but there are so many issues. Firstly, there is the quality. If you want good, healthy food it will cost you more, but if you want cheap food, then you are sacrificing your health. Also you rarely have any real choice on portion sizes so you tend to come away from a meal having wasted a lot. If you eat at home you have control over what exactly you get and how much of it you eat. Just because wasted food isnít going in your bin doesnít mean youíre not responsible for it.
Donít go shopping on an empty stomach
Imagine going into a shop full of food when you havenít eaten. Not a good combination. All those temptations, all that tasty food. You may find yourself buying loads only to get home, fill yourself up and have lots left over. Make it easier on yourself by eating beforehand.
Write a shopping list
If you go into a supermarket without a clear plan of what you want to buy then you often end up randomly browsing around picking up food you wouldnít necessarily want/need. Do your research beforehand so you know whatís missing from your fridge, how much bread and milk you really have, what supplies you need for your lunch, etc.
Shop more often and buy less
Due to time constraints and the chore of going to the market, most of us do our shopping once or twice a week and buy as much food as we think we will need. The problem is you donít really know what you are going to be doing or how you are going to be feeling in several days time. Often I will buy something with the intention of eating it later on in the week and then my schedule changes and it gets wasted. Ideally, you want to go daily and buy just the food you need for your meals that day.
Buy only what you will definitely eat
This might seem obvious but youíd be surprised how often people buy food and then never bother to eat it despite it being right in front of them in the fridge. You know what your eating habits are, you know what you really like and donít like.
Set a budget
If you set out how much money you are going to spend per week you are more likely to buy stuff you need and will definitely eat. You donít want to buy any food without a plan or a budget and find that by Friday youíve no money left to buy your dinner. The best approach is to take out some money beforehand and then leave your card at home. This forces you to carefully weigh up the price of everything you buy.