Friday, 26 February 2016

Transforming Your Grocery Habits

Life seems to have a way of making me reassess my food buying and consumption habits every once in a while. Most recently it was the arrival of a housemate, necessitating the need to clear out kitchen cupboards and the fridge-freezer in order that she too could store food. I'm nice like that. But I digress...

I saw just how much I had in the kitchen cupboard; a huge range of lentils, flours, pasta, nut butters, preserves, dried fruit and nuts. There were a lot of oddments; things that I couldn't quite bring myself to use up so had a handful of cranberries here, a bit of couscous there and so on. Why?! There's no harm in using things up and in fact it's better to do so than just use the freezer as a stopping point on the way to the bin. I don't need 6 different types of grain on hand "just in case". So I reinvigorated my mission to use things up and even managed a whole week eating meals made only from what I already had in the cupboard, fridge and freezer. At the end of it, I realised I could do a second week, so I did.

I'm not the only one guilty of stoking up on too much food. Many of us over estimate what we will consume and ambitiously plan weeks in advance leading to eventually throwing out the excess. Something that surprised me in a recent report from the World Resources Institute was that about one third of all the food produced worldwide never makes it from production to plate. However, where it does, food waste is usually due to an overly prudent food industry, ambiguous food labelling, and over-cautious or ambitious consumers. Although written from an American viewpoint, there is still a wealth of good advice and tips in this article from

Some of the tips to reduce food waste at home include:

  • Taking cookery classes - learning how to make use of those random ingredients in the fridge
  • Track your grocery and eating habits for a month to help you understand where you can buy less and use more
  • Buy fresh more often - only buying bread, fruit and veg with the next 2-3 days in mind
  • Understand the true meaning of use by and best before dates, and how storage can affect these
  • Learn how best to store the fresh food you buy

Take a look at these info graphics for more insight.

Food Waste Prevention - Buy in Bulk

Food Waste Prevention - How Long Until Food Goes Bad

Do you think you could eat for a week from what's currently in your kitchen without buying anything else? 

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