Thursday, May 08, 2008


It’s official we Brits are a nation of food wasters. According to recent government statistics, Britons are throwing away the equivalent of £10 billion worth of food every year, equivalent to a staggering 6.7 million tonnes of food. Wow! The main reasons for this include overbuying food and not storing it properly at correct temperatures and children who are fussy eaters. Supermarket multibuy offers are also partly to blame, encouraging shoppers to buy more than they actually need. This comes at a time when food prices are soaring in Britain, yet the average family is throwing away the equivalent of £600 of food waste. Also many poor countries of the world are facing food shortages due to rising populations.

I think the main problem is that we in the west have got quite greedy when it comes to food. Quite often our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we buy much more than we actually need. It’s quite shameful when you think of the number of people starving in the world. Too many people throw away leftovers rather than using them towards another meal. Scares over food safety have led to more people throwing food away too. I always remember when I was growing up, my dad used to reprimand me for leaving food on my plate, reminding me that there were a lot of “children starving in the world” who would love to have that food to eat. His words stayed with me and even today I never like to leave food on my plate or buy more than I need. The same applies in restaurants. Quite often you see plates being taken away and the amount of food left on them is shameful. Many people forget that throwing all this food away is damaging the environment too. At a time when the government is trying to reduce the amount of waste material going into landfill, unfortunately that’s where the waste food goes, producing methane, a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.

So how can we as a nation cut down on the amount of food we waste? Here are some suggestions:-

1. Go shopping more often and buy only the things you need
2. Instead of throwing away leftovers, use them towards another meal. For
example leftover vegetables could be used in a soup or casserole.
3. Fruit that is going soft could be used in a pie or crumble
4. In restaurants if something is particularly filling or comes as a big
portion and you can’t eat it – don’t order it
5. Many food items are thrown away because they are past their sell-by dates. To avoid having out of date items lurking at the back of fridges and cupboards, check sell by dates regularly, bringing to the front tinned goods and other items than need to be used first.
6. Keep an eye on perishable items like cheese and eggs.
7. If you do have any waste, get yourself a compost bin. Composting is great
and reduces any adverse effects on the environment.

For some great recipe ideas on how to use up leftovers and stop waste, click on the link shown below:-

Love Food Hate Waste - Recipes


Marshamlow said...

Great post as always Naomi. Whenever we are trying to tighten the belt (save money) we always seem to turn to our shopping habits. We seem to go to the store so often always spending, spending, spending. I have found that I often pick up all the foods that I automatically keep in the house. When something runs out I just buy it again. What helps me to not waste money or food is to make a list at the beginning of the week, a list of all the meals we will be eating the entire week. I then make a shopping list based on my meal plan. This way I buy the things I need for the meal plan and not just going through the store buying all the things I think I might need.

Naomi said...

Hi Marsha

Making lists and planning menus for the week is a great idea. That's actually something I always do too. I think everybody should do that. Sticking to a list and only buying the things you need would certainly solve the problem of wasted food and save shoppers a lot of money too.

SandyCarlson said...

Well said, Naomi.
The economy is so bad and prices are so high...We put more time between shopping trips to force ourselves to look at what's on the shelves and to use it. We are wasteful. We're working on changing that and will try your suggestions!

I remember being admonished to "clean my plate." To waste food was not an option when I was a kid.

Daisy said...

We have homeless shelters in the USA, and the restaurant connected to the business I work for (combo store/cafe) gives our leftover food to the shelter.

The USA is scandalous about leftover food, which is where the feral cats in the suburbs come from--they live in the dumpsters near the restaurants. They particularly favor seafood restaurants! (I also work in cat rescue!)

Love your blog, Naomi, my first comment I think! (Blog villager!)

Marion said...

I loved this post! Well said!

I have found, since moving, I buy locally, at the butcher's and farmer's market. In small amounts and always fresh and in season. It is a great way to shop...once a week for the following week.

Thanks for the post and the link, Naomi.

Cindy Swanson said...

Great advice, Naomi! It's not only Britons who waste food...I'll wager that Americans are among the worst offenders. When I see full plates left on tables at restaurants, I sometimes cringe, thinking how many starving people would give a lot for a few bites of it. :(

I've resolved to be less wasteful when it comes to food.

Naomi said...

I was brought up the same way Sandy and even today I hate to waste food if I can help it.

That's a great idea Daisy. At least that way the food goes to help people who otherwise couldn't afford to eat. People forget that leftover food can be a health hazard and encourage vermin too. Glad you enjoyed your visit here Daisy. Hope to see you again soon.

Naomi said...

I always think if you can buy fresh local produce, it's a lot better Marion and also stops any food being wasted as you only buy what you really need.

Yes it's scary how many half full plates are sent back in restaurants when there are so many starving people in the world Cindy. Sometimes people just don't appreciate what they have.