If you buy too much, you’ll throw a lot away. Or, looking at it a different way, reducing food waste starts in your cart at the supermarket. It’s not hard to check what you already have in the cupboard and fridge, plan ahead and buy only what you need – and it also makes your weekly shop much easier.
We’ve all been there. You haven’t made a list, you’re short on time and rush into the supermarket. You throw everything that catches your eye into the trolley, whatever takes your fancy at that moment. Very soon, you’ll be taking home more food than you can eat.
In order to avoid buying things you don’t actually need and resist the temptation to make spontaneous purchases, write a list at home to stay organised when buying groceries. This way, we can all reduce the food we waste and boost our bank balance at the same time.
Which fruit and vegetables you put in your trolley, whether you opt for tinned goods or frozen and your choice of meat – it has an impact on the environment. We’ve put together a few tips to help you shop more sustainably and consciously.
Checking your cupboards and fridge on a daily basis makes it easier to plan your shopping. What do you have in, what items are missing and what do you need to use soon? This helps you to maintain an overview of what you need on your shopping list. In addition to fresh produce, there will be some items you use regularly. It can help to keep a list of the products and ingredients you like to keep in your cupboard, fridge and freezer so that you always have them to hand.
A weekly plan is a dependable companion. What have you got on? Will you have any visitors? Which days will you need a snack for on-the-go? Think about what you might eat in the next few days and write a shopping list based on the ingredients you’ll need. This way, you know just what you need to buy and how much. And, so that you don’t end up buying more than originally planned, don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.
Ideally, you try to buy perishable foods like fish and meat only when you know you will eat them soon. By contrast, fruit and vegetables will last longer when stored correctly and so can be purchased in advance. Tip: Don’t be afraid to buy fruit and vegetables with imperfections. It’s easy to remove them – and your apple will still taste every bit as good as its undamaged counterparts. Unfortunately, some retailers often end up throwing away goods with visible imperfections.
Special offers, free samples and full shelves – the wide variety of food on offer is enticing, especially if you go to the supermarket when hungry or in a hurry. Give yourself enough time to make a plan and go shopping so you can compare prices and quality in peace. Just a little hint: Cut-price bulk products can seem attractive, but only as long as they are not going to waste. Take your time when shopping and think about what you really need.
As consumers, we can help to reduce the volume of retail waste. Fruit and vegetables with small imperfections are often discarded, and the same goes for other products. You don’t need to find dairy products with a best-before date in two weeks’ time if you plan to consume them quickly. Bread purchased yesterday will still taste good in two days’ time. What’s more, these tips can save you money. Some stores reduce the price of goods approaching their best-before date.
Who doesn’t love some out-of-season fruit over the winter? Although it’s a nice change, it is not the best choice for your environmental footprint, so it does make sense to prioritise seasonal produce whenever possible. Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables and keep an eye on where it comes from. Food grown and produced locally will have been transported less. This also means lower CO2 emissions. Food produced locally also uses less packaging and consumes far less energy for storage purposes, which underscores the importance of buying seasonal, regional food.