Food waste is a huge problem, and it affects us all. According to the WWF, it’s estimated that a third of all food in South Africa is never consumed and ends up in landfills. The result? This adds pressure to an already over-extended waste system.
Make 2022 the year you do what you can to help, with these practical and easy-to-implement tips on seasonal shopping, food storage, and reducing food waste. Your wallet and the environment will thank you!
Plan your meals and make a grocery list
One of the easiest ways to boost your budget and reduce food wastage is to plan your meals ahead of time. Just set aside a few minutes to plan your family’s weekly meals.
Before heading to the grocery store, take a quick look at what’s in your fridge and pantry. After you’ve taken stock of what you already have available, make a list of what you need for your planned meals. Sticking to this list is super important, as it will help you avoid those sneaky impulse buys. Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll also save money.
Consider the ugly fruit and veggies
Sometimes shops will end up discarding not-quite-as-uniform vegetables or slightly bruised fruit if no one buys them. But fruit and veggies that are slightly weird-looking still taste the same. Use ripe fruit for smoothies, juices, desserts, and odd vegetables in dishes where their shape won’t matter.
Make the most of your fridge
How many times have you forgotten about a punnet of blueberries stuck behind a gigantic jar of pickles? Or half-open cans of expensive coconut milk? Avoid this kind of spoilage by keeping your fridge clean and organised so that you can apply the “first in, first out” principle.
Having a good fridge and getting the most out of its features is one way to not only save money but also ensure that your food stays fresher for longer. LG’s innovative InstaView Door-in-Door Fridge features a sleek glass panel that makes it possible for you to see the contents of your fridge without opening the door. And by keeping the cool air in, there’s less fluctuation in the temperature inside the fridge which helps maintain food’s freshness for longer.
If you can’t use an ingredient in more than two meals, leave it on the shelf
If you can only think of one recipe to use something in, and it doesn’t require the whole bag or can, you likely won’t use the rest of it before it goes off and it ends up in the bin. If you don’t have two meals in mind, think about whether it’s a flexible, easily used ingredient. For instance, cheddar is a champion in the versatility category, as it can be used in just about any recipe, but you might not be able to use that leftover half a cup of buttermilk before it goes off.
Learn to love your leftovers
If you don’t eat everything you make, freeze it for later or find a way to re-use the leftovers in another meal. Here, it’s a good idea to create a stockpile of go-to leftover recipes for meals and snacks. Have some greens taken up space in the fridge? No problem! Use them in a quick and healthy smoothie. Too much pasta sauce? Freeze it for next time.
Don’t throw away food
Instead of binning your food scraps, compost them if you can. The process of composting plays a huge role in returning food back to the ground to restart the organic cycle. Not only is composting environmentally friendly, but it also produces high-quality soil for your garden.
By making small shifts in how you shop for, prepare, and store food, you can save time and money, and keep the valuable resources used to produce and distribute food from going to waste. Every time you do your groceries or consider throwing away food that can still be used, you get an opportunity to make a real impact.