According to a study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 40% to 50% of all food ready for harvest in the US goes uneaten. In addition, American household toss 14% of their food purchases into the garbage. When you do the math, you can easily see how a family of four can throw away $590 worth of food products directly into the landfills each and every year.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) also claimed that about one third of all food produced around the world (valued at about $1 trillion) gets wasted in the production and consumption systems. Needless to say, these figures are enough to shock anyone, especially since a lot of people are suffering from hunger.
Throwing food in the garbage dump also drives up food prices and increases carbon emissions two things people can do without.
Tips to Cut Food Waste and Save Money
No matter how bleak the situation is, there are a lot of things that you can do to cut down on food wastage and save money in the process. Here are suggestions that you may want to consider.
Plan ahead. Always check your freezer and cupboards, and plan your meals ahead of time. Make a list of what you need before making a trip to your local grocery store so that you will have everything you need in the right quantities.
Buy only what you need. While it is tempting to buy everything as they go on sale, you need to ask yourself if you can use all of them before they go bad. This is especially true when you are buying fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
Read (and understand) date labels. Some consumers are confused by the different date labels. To simplify things, you need to keep in mind that the ‘Best before’ date merely indicates freshness and quality so you can still eat it after it has passed the date on the label. On the other hand, don’t consume a product that has passed the ‘Use by’ date since you may be putting your health at risk by doing so.
Keep foods fresh for longer periods of time. It is always best to leave fresh produce in its original packaging and keep it in the fridge to preserve its freshness. On the other hand, you can store meat, fish and cheese in the fridge using plastic containers or re-sealable bags.
Get your portions right. You should know what your family likes and how much they consume so you can serve the right portion size and reduce food wastage.
Dont throw away your leftovers. Instead of throwing them in the garbage, consider freezing your leftovers so you can bring them to work the next day or turn them into delectable new dishes.
It is easy to cut food wastage and save money. All you need is careful planning and a little creativity to make it work.