Large quantities of food are produced but not eaten by humans. This has substantial negative impacts: environmentally, socially and economically.
The amount of food wasted by households each year was estimated at over 570 million tonnes. This is food that has been grown, made, packaged, distributed and sold through stores and markets and taken to homes, only to end up in the garbage. Not only is the food wasted, but the greenhouse gases emitted during the entire process – from raising livestock, making, packaging and transporting produce in refrigerated vehicles – are a pointless ecological burden.
Studies have shown that food waste accounts for between 6-8% of all the greenhouse gas emissions fuelling climate change. Food waste not only wastes natural resources, and costs unnecessary money and effort, it degrades the environment. Furthermore, there are ethical concerns with regards to food waste and the number of people experiencing food insecurity.
Reducing food waste in our personal lives is important because it has a far-reaching impact on the environment, economy, society, and our individual well-being. It is a conscious choice that aligns with a more sustainable and responsible approach to food consumption and resource management.
Real Food & Food Waste
Real food, which includes humanely raised animal proteins, pastured eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, tends to generate less waste. It is healthier, more sustainable, and often cheaper than processed foods.
Learn more about the benefits of real food in this post
Strategies To Reduce Waste With Real Food
Meal Planning: Plan your meals and buy only what you need. Make a shopping list to avoid over-purchasing.
Proper Storage: Store food items correctly to extend their freshness. Use airtight containers, and keep perishables in the fridge or freezer.
Creative Cooking: Get creative with leftovers. Turn yesterday's dinner into today's lunch or dinner. Use vegetable scraps for making broth.
Composting: Composting can help divert organic waste from landfills and turn it into nutrient-rich soil for gardening. You can compost food scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells.
More Tips To Reduce Food Waste
Understand Food Labels: Learn to interpret food labels correctly. "Best before" dates indicate food quality but are often still safe to consume after the date has passed. "Use by" dates are more critical for perishable items. Use your judgment and the sniff test to assess if food is still good.
First In, First Out (FIFO): When organizing your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, practice the FIFO method. Use older items before newer ones to ensure that nothing expires before being used. Periodically go through your refrigerator to identify items that need to be used up or discarded to prevent food from going bad unnoticed.
Store Food Properly: Be aware of the best storage conditions for different foods. For example, store eggs in the coolest part of the refrigerator (not the door), keep tomatoes on the counter (not in the fridge), and store nuts in airtight containers to prevent spoilage.
Meal Prep: Prepare meals in advance to avoid last-minute food waste. Portion and store them in containers to grab and go when needed.
Creative Cooking: Get inventive with using food scraps. For instance, use overripe bananas to make banana bread or use carrot tops to create pesto. There are multiple recipes and apps that can help you find creative ideas for using food scraps.
Re-evaluate Portion Sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes when cooking. Start with smaller portions, and let people have seconds if they're still hungry. This reduces the chances of uneaten leftovers.
Use a Shopping List: Before going shopping, create a detailed shopping list based on your meal plan. Stick to the list to avoid buying items you don't need.
Preservation Techniques: Make use of various preservation methods like canning, pickling, freezing, and dehydrating to extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and other perishable items.
Donate Surplus Food: If you have surplus food that you can't consume, consider donating it to local food banks or charities. Many organizations are eager to accept fresh, unexpired food donations.
Leftovers Makeovers: Transform leftovers into entirely new dishes. For example, use roasted vegetables in salads, and shredded meat from one meal in tacos or sandwiches for the next.
Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the issue of food waste. Learn about the impact it has on the environment, economy, and society to stay motivated to reduce waste.
Involve Children: Teach children about food waste and involve them in meal planning and preparation. This helps instill good habits from an early age.
Support Restaurants with Food Waste Reduction Initiatives: Choose to dine at or order from restaurants that have policies in place to minimize food waste, such as smaller portion sizes and responsible sourcing.
Share Food Responsibility: If you live with roommates or family members, ensure that everyone takes responsibility for food management, including planning, cooking, and cleanup.
Meal Delivery and Food Waste Reduction
A recent study looked at whether using a meal delivery service helps reduce food waste. Are people better off outsourcing part or all of the cooking process to a company that does some or all of the sourcing and preparation work for them?
The answer was a resounding yes. Results showed that households wasted on average 38% less food when they used a meal service compared to when they bought the ingredients individually. At the grocery store, you often have to buy more of an ingredient that will be used in any given recipe. This means that the rest of the ingredient often goes to waste. By considering this factor, the researchers were able to show that delivery services produce significantly less food waste compared to buying food at a grocery store.
On top of this, the researchers found that food waste in grocery stores is much higher than that found in meal service facilities. Grocery stores must display fresh vegetables in an open-air setting, a feature that often causes food to get spoiled over time before it can be sold. Meal service preparation facilities can better store and refrigerate food before processing, leading to less waste. Further, because of subscriptions to their plans, these facilities can better anticipate the amount of food they need, leading to significantly less waste.
Choosing Environmentally Conscious Meal Delivery Services
To maximize waste reduction with meal delivery, consider services that focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Look for providers that:
Source ingredients locally and sustainably.
- Ethically source their ingredients
- Use eco-friendly packaging.
- Offer organic or whole food options.
- Have clear policies on reducing food waste.
At Pete’s Real Food we go to great lengths to ensure we deliver the highest quality food that is not only good for you, but good for the planet. Find out more about our sustainability practices here
Having delicious, chef-prepared, seasonally inspired meals made with only the best ingredients is important when choosing the food to feed you and your family. Our extensive menus change weekly and appeal to all tastes and many types of nutrition plans from Paleo to Keto to Vegan to AIP. We even do kids lunches!!!!Check out this week’s choices and order your family’s favorites here >>>>>>
Little changes to our daily habits can make a huge global impact. Take action. Stop food loss and waste. For your well-being and for the planet.