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Reduce Food Waste, Save Money

Reduce Food Waste, Save Money

Each year there are about 312 kilograms of food waste contributed by a single Australian citizen which is equivalent to 7.6 million tonnes of food across the supply and consumption chain all over the country. If converted, it is about one in five grocery bags or $2,000 to $2,500 per household annually and costs the economy around $36.6 billion each year.

The Australian government was alarmed about the result because that was really a big waste and we all know that food is a very vital part of every individual’s life. Also, it gives a bad impact on the environment since it contributes to gas emissions. In fact, three per cent of gas emissions annually are caused by food waste. 

The government gives their best to fight this frightful problem and provides the following actions:

  • Supports National Food Waste Strategy by exerting some effort into establishing Stop Food Waste Australia. They provide $4 million for the execution of this advocacy which desires to reduce the waste of food across the supply chain
  • Encourages all organisations from all parts of the food chain to voluntarily create and plan a solution to reduce food waste
  • Gathers all foods that will be possibly wasted and distribute them to Australian who lack access to food
  • Gives information through educational campaigns about the negative effects of food waste and how to start the avoidance of it in households
  • Invests in research and technological improvements such as waste treatment infrastructure, ways to create value from food waste, and innovation in agricultural efficiency.

The government’s role is to give awareness and provide solutions that will encourage everyone to participate in national campaigns that will probably cure national scenarios like the continuous increase of food waste. With their effort, as an individual how can you contribute? To give you an idea, we gathered different ways where you can help to decrease wasting of food.

Supermarket tips

Food waste is one of the difficult problems for grocery retailers. Shoppers usually want shelves full of goods whenever they go to supermarkets. There are scenarios where shoppers only shop at those supermarkets that have high volumes of items to offer to their customers. If supermarkets don’t overstock with essential grocery items, they will lose out to a competitor.

But with the concern about food waste, there are consumers who are aware of the rising numbers of it and waking up to the reality of food waste and now doing their best to help with this alarming issue. 

Since supermarkets are one of the origins of food waste, here are just a few initiatives that grocery retailers can adopt to lessen the continuous circulation of food waste.

  • Use technologies that may track items’ expiration dates. One of the main causes of food waste in supermarkets is that products are being thrown out because they’ve passed their expiration date. Having a tracker for expiry dates will totally eliminate this problem. Because whenever grocery retailers are aware of the nearing expiration of products, they can think of gimmicks or discounts for soon-to-expire products so that they can be consumed easily.
  • Discuss food waste issues with store employees. It is effective that employees are aware of what is happening in the world. Educate them about the negative effects of wasting food and encourage them on how they can help on fixing it. Who would have thought that they also have ideas on how to avoid it?
  • Still consume imperfect produce. There are these nonsensical reasons for disregarding misshapen fruits and vegetables. In fact, those can still be consumed. Do not stereotype foods according to their physical appearance.
  • Donate goods. Do not trash unconsumed goods that stores can still donate to unfortunate ones. Instead of wasting them, give them to food charities and as promised, it can give good karma to your market.
  • Transparency with suppliers. Having a good connection with suppliers will result in flexibility on deliveries and last-minute changes. Telling your suppliers about products that are non-consumable by consumers will give them the idea to give the product to sellers that can easily sell it. With that, food waste will be avoided.

Refrigeration tips

The way that you use your fridge is a big part of reducing food waste. Fridge shelves are not created equally, it depends on the temperature and shelves’ size. It is important that you know where to store your food in the fridge, and put stuff that needs low temperature so that it will last longer. Here are bright ways to properly use your fridge.

  • Familiarise yourself with your fridge. There is this general rule in the fridge that the coldest place is located at the bottom and the back, and the warmer place is at the top and near the front. You better know where you put your goods to make it last longer. For example, shelves near the door are not for the milk. Yes, it is tempting to put your milk there since size-wise, it looks like they were made to be there. But in reality, the milk needs to be placed in a colder place to maximise its lifespan.
  • Leftover policy. Do not put your leftovers in the fridge straight away. Once you put them on while they are still hot, there is a tendency that this will raise the overall chilling capability of the fridge which will also affect other foods stored inside.
  • Put a label. When foods are inside the fridge it is advisable to label them. In labelling, you must input the expiration date of the food and their so-called “Best By” dates for you to know when to perfectly consume them.

Storage tips to avoid food waste

Knowing how to properly store foods will definitely reduce food waste by preserving them. Always remember that when foods are stored right, they will keep fresh for longer. Here are some storage methods that will give you ideas to reduce food waste.

  • Freezing. This method will prevent your food from spoiling. There are foods that can be frozen as is and they need to be blanched before doing the method. Meats usually need to be frozen. Here’s a tip, you need to cut them into small pieces while they are fresh before freezing. Separate them into packs depending on how much meat you need to cook at a time. It will help you with easy defrosting when the meat is scheduled for cooking.
  • Canning. This method is one of the great ways to store food. It helps preserve acidic foods such as pickles and tomatoes. For canning, a mason jar is the most recommended use.
  • Drying/Dehydrating. This is an inexpensive way of preserving food. It removes water, repels moisture-loving bacteria, and concentrates flavours. There are technologies to execute this preservation such as an electric dehydrator and oven drying.
  • Acidification. By simply dunking the food in vinegar, your food will be preserved longer. This method will rid infectious germs in fruits, veggies, and herbs to extend their shelf lives.
  • Oil Preservation. This kind of food preservation has been used for a long time in Italy, Spain, and France. Foods like meats, fish, herbs, cheese, and certain vegetables which are usually cooked in oil can also be preserved using oil. This kind of food preservation will help the food last for several weeks in the refrigerator and can last for a year in the freezer.

Preparation tips

Cooking smart is not only about saving money but also reducing food waste. You have to prepare food wisely for them to be consumed. Here are some preparation tips that we gathered just for you.

  • Meal Plan. Before going to the grocery, you have to list all foods that you will prepare for a week so you know the foods that you only need to buy and don’t end up buying things that you will possibly throw away.
  • Know the shelter life of ingredients. Leafy veggies have a shorter life than hard ones. You must consume them first before they get wasted. Knowing the shelf time of the ingredients will give an idea of what to cook first and what to be cooked on the next day.
  • The power of leftovers. Leftovers can be recooked and the interesting part is they will become more delicious. Just be inventive and do some research and you will possibly make an appetising dish from leftover food.  In food preparation, creativity is also one of the criteria. Keep in mind that today’s plain rice can be tomorrow’s fried rice.

Reducing food waste can also result in saving a lot of money. You will probably become an environmental hero once you start saving food from being wasted. As simple citizens let’s do our part also in giving a solution to the continuous rising of food waste. Because vice versa, our small help will contribute a lot to us.

If you liked our “Reduce Food Waste, Save Money” and find it useful, check our blogs regularly for more information on how to get out of debt and get updates on personal wealth apps in Australia.