As a country, we ought to be ashamed of the amount of food we waste every year.
With the planet’s population growing year-on-year, and with resources becoming ever tighter, food security is one of the great problems that we face as a civilisation. In his classic work Brave New World Revisited, the writer Aldous Huxley quite rightly predicted that the human population boom would result in massive food shortages as we battle with the food supply.
So why, in the face of these stark facts, do we waste so much food?
According to government statistics, we waste over seven million tonnes of food every year that could have been eaten, a figure that means the average household is wasting £50 per month on uneaten food. In fact, we waste more food than we do packaging.
This waste falls into two categories: Food that’s prepared and uneaten, and food that we buy and simply don’t use.
We are particularly wasteful of salad, fruit and vegetables. While we preach about food waste, we’re acutely aware of the fact that we are just as guilty, often buying fruit and veg that seems a good idea at the time, forgetting about it, and flinging it onto the compost the minute it looks like its gone a bit squishy.
So, what can you do?
There are simple solutions for everybody.
The simplest is to be more careful when you’re shopping. Only buy perishable foods that you actually need, and then try to get items which have longer ‘best before’ dates.
Also, try to be a little less picky. As a nation, we’ve been trained over the years into accepting only the best, freshest fruit and veg. The roundest, greenest apples. Bananas a certain shade on yellow with a perfect curve. Nobbly veg that might be slightly the wrong colour has nothing wrong with it. Accept a few blemishes because they have no effect on the taste.
And finally, be a little more inventive with recipes. We’re so used to convenience foods, many households have lost that edge in cooking that uses up old ingredients. While bubble and squeak used to exist to use up old ingredients, you can now buy it ready made and frozen.
So, with a bit of planning and a bit of forward thinking, we can pull together and help conquer the British waste food mountain.
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