Love Food Hate Waste
Did you know that modern packaging allows your food to stay fresher for longer – not just on shelves in the supermarket but in your home as well. Not only that but the impact on the environment of food waste, is many times greater than the pack it comes in. Much of the food we throw away just doesn’t get used in time, and includes 17 billion ‘5-a-day’ portions (more than a fifth of what we buy). Small changes can help keeping our food fresher for longer, which means more can be eaten at its best rather than ending up in the bin, saving us time and money!
Most fresh fruit & vegetables, such as peppers, carrots and oranges, will last for at least a week longer if kept in the fridge, but two weeks longer if kept in their original packs (or a loosely tied plastic bag) in the fridge. Given that 26% of all the food and drink we throw away in the UK is fresh fruit and veg , keeping it in peak condition means we don’t end up throwing it away so saving money.
Many of us take our fruit and veg out of its pack as soon as we get it home, by habit. However modern packaging means that keeping it in its original packaging will keep it fresher for longer The average household can save £480 a year, rising to around £50 a month for a family with children: simply by making the most of the food we buy.
- Look out for split packs where each portion is in its own pack meaning you only need to open as much as you need that day
- If you buy breads on offer, or it takes you a while to use a pack/loaf up, consider freezing some of it, either on the day you buy them or at any time up to the Best Before date.
- Its best not to put bread in the fridge as it goes stale much quicker. Bread keeps better in a cool dark place such as the bread bin or a store cupboard. Bread also freezes well for use another time
- Food labels are undergoing a lot of change due to new legislation, to make them less confusing and more helpful for customers; it’s worth taking a closer look at the label, even for products you might buy regularly.
Many Retailers and Manufacturers are also making voluntary changes to labelling, to help customers to waste less food:-
- Retailers are removing ‘display until’ dates so that the important ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ are easier to see, and there is only one date to look at
- More products now have a ‘best before’ date rather than a ‘use by’ date (for example most hard cheese and many pasteurised fruit juices), giving the flexibility to use the product after the date
- Most food packs have detailed storage advice, and many are highlighting on the front of pack where to store food to keep it at its best (for example most fresh produce in the fridge)
- Retailers are now moving away from “freeze on day of purchase” guidance to “freeze before the date”, which means if food isn’t eaten when expected it can be frozen before the date to use at a later date.
- Use-by is the only date label that refers to safety. Best before refers to quality and sell-by/display until is just for the shops.
- Always follow on pack storage guidance and instructions. To extend the life of food beyond its date, freeze before the use-by or best before. When you want to use it defrost in the fridge overnight and use within 24 hours.
- Look out for re-closable packs to keep your opened food in peak condition for longer. If your pack doesn’t have a re-closable feature, use a bag clip or put the opened pack into an air-tight container.
More staggering facts
- Packaging allows food to stay fresher for longer – not just on shelves but in our home as well
- The food and packaging industry have developed some great new innovations to help keep food fresher for longer, which means there is more time to eat the food whilst it is still at its best. Examples include extra-filtered fresh milk, vacuum packed fresh meat, intelligent packs for fresh fruit & vegetables which helps stop them over-ripening
- Bananas ripen more slowly if packed in special bags so fewer get thrown away
- Shrink-wrapped cucumbers will last around five times longer than non-shrink-wrapped ones.
- In the UK we buy almost 40 million tonnes of food & drink every year, and this is protected by less than 4 million tonnes of packaging
- The impact on the environment of food waste is many times greater than the packaging it comes in
6 times greater for apples
30 times greater for tomatoes and
100 times greater for lettuce
- The majority of packaging can be recycled helping to minimise its impact on the environment
For lots more ideas and money saving tips to make the most of your food visit lovefoodhatewaste.com