Globally, tons of food are wasted every day, at the retail as well as the consumer level. What can you do to reduce this problem?
Food and eating have become an understated luxury. We need to put little effort into obtaining our food. We often buy too much and in far too large portions. We end up letting it spoil at home and to throw it in the bin. This is perhaps the most important behavioural change that we need to impose on ourselves.
Vast amounts of food are lost worldwide. Between harvesting and retail alone, approximately 14% of the food grown/produced is lost. In this case we speak of food loss.
The food that perishes at the consumer level is called food waste.
The problem of food loss and food waste is essential in a world where millions of people still suffer from famine every day. And it is a problem we must solve together. From the farmer to the producers, from the retailers to the consumers. We can all help. So it is also up to you to change your habits and stop wasting food today.
Here are some tips to waste less food:
1. Buy only what you're going to eat
Make a shopping list and stick to it. Avoid impulsive purchases. Make sure you have eaten well before going to the store. Shopping hungry gives rise to impulsive purchases of munchies you don't need. It's not only good against food waste, but also better for your waistline and your wallet. Thank you, ISIC Belgium!
2. Thoroughly understand the terms "best before" and "use-by" dates
There is indeed a difference between "best before" and "use-by" dates. Often it is still fine to eat food labelled with a "best before" date. A "use-by" date is a clear and more specific indication of when it is no longer OK to consume. Also, check labels for unhealthy ingredients such as trans fats and preservatives to avoid foods with added sugars or salts.
3. Support local food producers
By buying locally you support family farms and markets in your community. You are also helping the fight against pollution caused by trucks and other means of transportation that deliver food from the large companies.
4. Take the fruits and vegetables that don’t look perfect
You do not have to take the best-looking fruit or vegetable. You are most likely going to cut it up, prepare it and hopefully eat it. Don’t worry, you are not going to taste any difference.
5. Store your food smartly
Put older products at the front on the shelf and put the newer products in the back. Use airtight containers to keep the food fresh in the refrigerator or freezer.
6. Adopt a healthier and more sustainable diet
In this busy and fast-paced world, preparing a healthy meal is often a challenge, but the internet is full of healthy and quick recipes that you can share with your friends and family. So no more excuses for you.
7. Smaller Portions
Take smaller portions for home or share large menus at restaurants.
8. Use less water
We can't make food without water. Fix leaky faucets, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, spend less time in the shower...
9. Eat leftovers
If you didn't eat everything, freeze the leftovers for later or use them into a new dish the next day.
10. Sharing is caring
Donate food that would otherwise go to waste. Give it to your neighbours or collection points of the food bank...
Compost instead of throwing your food away. This way you give the nutrients back to mother nature and complete the circle. A much better solution for your carbon footprint.
12. Respect food
Inform yourself about the production of the food you buy. Only buy what you feel good about.
13. Maintain the fish population
Eat fish species that we have enough of in nature such as mackerel or herring.
Avoid eating fish species that are overfished such as tuna and cod. Buy eco-labelled fish.
14. Recycle and separate waste
Separate your waste correctly. Do not throw hazardous waste such as batteries, paint, electronic devices, medicines or chemicals in the trash. Otherwise, we are polluting our soil and water supply and damaging all our natural resources.
15. Eat more vegetables
Try to eat more vegetables at least once a week. Or even better: eat a vegetarian at least once a week! Sorry, we meant: eat a vegetarian meal at least once a week ;-)