Love Food Hate Waste

Why do we hate food waste?

Scotland throws away 566,000 tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year. That's over a third of the food we buy and at least half of this could have been eaten.
This waste of good food costs us £1 billion a year or £480 for the average household. That’s £38 a month you could be throwing away! You can learn more about the environmental impact of good waste on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

The Scottish Government has currently set a target of reducing food waste by 33% by 2025.

Why do we waste good food?

The main reasons we waste our food are:

• we cook or prepare too much
• we let our food go past its use by date or forget we have it
• we don't use our freezer as well as we should
• we buy too much at the supermarket

These mistakes are easy to fix, simply follow the helpful hints and tricks on this page to reduce your food waste.

How to waste less

Plan your meals: Planning your meals and your food shopping is a great way of getting organised in the kitchen and avoiding food waste. The Love Food Hate Waste website has lots of resources available to help keep track of your weekly meal plans, for example.the Love Food Hate Waste App. This will make planning meals easier than ever and put the power to reduce waste in your hands.

Food shopping: Below are some helpful hints and tips when food shopping.

  • Take 5 minutes to think about the meals you would like for the week ahead. You’ll also find it much easier when you go food shopping if you have meals in mind.
  • Try planning something simple and straightforward for the days when you will be busy or home late, such as a leftover meal from the freezer.
  • If you buy a lot of fresh produce, you could try buying smaller quantities of fresh food more often so you can enjoy it when it is at its best.
  • Try buying your fruit and vegetables loose so you can buy exactly how much you need.

Portion sizes: Thinking about your portions sizes is a great way to help you plan how much food you need and avoid cooking too much.

  • If you find some of the portions of food too big, look out for the smaller size options available, e.g. half loaves of bread, half cucumbers and smaller packs of cold meats.
  • Look out for the recommended portion sizes available on ingredients such as pasta and rice.
  • Your local butcher, deli, greengrocer or counters at your local supermarket can provide you with the exact amount you need.

Sensible storage: Knowing how food should be stored and how long it can be stored for, means you can always enjoy your food at its best.

  • Why not try rotating the food in your cupboard, fridge and freezer so that you don’t forget the food at the back.
  • The best way to store your food is in suitable containers or bags, making sure they are well sealed and air-tight.
  • Remember to keep your fridge below 5°C. You can purchase fridge thermometers quite cheaply to show the temperature.
  • Keep your cooked and uncooked food separate in the freezer so you know where everything is.
  • Instead of freezing whole packs of meat and fish, try wrapping portions individually, so you can take out what you need.

Making sense of food labels: It can be easy to get confused by the different labels on food, but the important ones you should look out for are ‘use by’ and ‘best before’:

USE BY: Food should be used by this date. ‘Use by’ dates appear on food that can go off quickly such as fish, meat, milk, soft cheese and packet salad.

BEST BEFORE: ‘Best before’ dates appear on a wide range of foods that last longer, such as frozen, dried and tinned food. ‘Best before’ dates tend to be about quality rather than safety. It should be safe to eat food after this date, but the food might begin to lose its flavour and texture.

OTHER DATES: Other dates such as ‘sell by’ and ‘display until’ are used by shop staff to know how long produce can be on display for.

Making the most of your leftovers: Waste analysis indicates that a lot of the food waste thrown out is leftovers that haven’t been eaten. For a whole host of simple, tasty options you can rustle up using what’s left from last night’s dinner take a look at some of the recipes available on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
You can search by recipe type, food type and ingredients to find the handiest recipe for you.

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