10 tips to reduce food waste & save money.
According to the Love Food Hate Waste website, almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten.
Knowing my ‘food waste’ report would say ‘could do better’, I decided to investigate this topic further and see what I could do to reduce waste and save money.
Are you throwing away food unnecessarily?
If you don’t know the difference between ‘best before’, ‘use by’, ‘sell by’ and ‘display until’ then you could be throwing away your food unnecessarily every week, not to mention your hard-earned cash.
Understanding date labels.
Use by. These dates refer to safety. Perishable goods such as meat, dairy, fish and chilled meals are usually given a use by date. Even if these products look and smell fine, you shouldn’t risk consuming them after their use by date.
Sell by / Display until. You can ignore these dates because they are for the benefit of retailers and their staff, not the consumer. When products reach their sell by/ display until dates they should be removed from the shelves by the retailer.
Best before. This date refers to food quality, not food safety. You can safely eat these foods after the best before date but you may notice a loss in taste or texture. Foods given best before dates include: cereal; pasta; tinned food; frozen meals. Use smell, taste and appearance to judge whether they are worth keeping. The only exception to the ‘best before’ rule is eggs. If you cook eggs thoroughly you can eat them one or two days after their best before date. Beyond this date there is a health risk due to salmonella.
10 tips to reduce food waste and save money.
1. Check your dates.
When you buy perishable goods in the supermarket, look for the ones on the shelf that have the longest use by date, (If the shelf stackers have been doing their job properly, the ones with the longest use by dates will be at the back).
Likewise, when you get back home, make sure you know which foods will go out of date first and plan your meals accordingly.
2. Buy short-dated and beyond best before foods.
As I’ve already explained, it’s usually safe to eat foods after their best before dates. It’s also legal to sell this type of item. In fact, there are significant savings to be made if you buy short-dated and ‘beyond best before date’ foods.
Some local shops and market stores offer short-dated and ‘beyond best before date’ items for sale at discounted prices. Alternatively, you can buy them from Approved food, the largest online retailer of short-dated and residual stock food and drinks. They charge £5.99 to deliver shopping up to a weight of 25kg in England, Wales and parts of Scotland, so it’s worth buying in bulk.
Approved Food can save you more than 70% off your weekly grocery shop. We sell many major brands and anything ‘de-Identified’ is normally from one of the major supermarkets. Approved Food can offer fantastic value that no supermarket can ever compete with.
Examples of savings include: Cadbury creme eggs 4 for £1.00 (saves £1.40); Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger beer 2 for £1.50 (saves £1.50); and 40 Typhoo tea bags for 59p, (saving 89p).
3. Freeze it.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to freeze food on the day of purchase. You can freeze it right up until the use by date. Once it has defrosted, use it within 24 hours.
Did you know you can freeze almost anything, including: milk; bananas (remove skin first); potatoes and root vegetables (blanch first); herbs; chillies; grapes.
Handy tip: Keep your loaf of sliced bread in the freezer. It doesn’t take long to defrost bread so remove slices from the freezer when you need them.
4. Use what’s left in your cupboards.
Have you ever watched Ready, Steady, Cook? It’s amazing what the celebrity chefs can whip up using a few simple ingredients found in someone’s fridge or kitchen cupboard. Why not do the same at home? Instead of wasting food, make meals using the leftovers in your fridge and cupboards.
If you aren’t sure what to make, visit Supercook or Big oven and add your ingredients into their online tools and they’ll suggest recipes based on those ingredients.
5. Cook once, eat twice.
You can save time, money and energy by batch cooking. Simply cook once but make enough food for two meals, one to eat and one to freeze for another time.
6. Get your portions right.
I don’t know about you, but I always end up making enough rice and spaghetti to feed a small village. By using the correct portions, you can reduce costs and your waistline.
7. Plan your meals.
If you plan your meals for the week or the month you can reduce waste by making use of ingredients you already have and only buying the food you need. Make sure you plan your meals so you use the items with the shortest ‘use by’ dates first. If you don’t fancy making your own menu planner, there are plenty of free meal planning resources available online. Try these:
- The Complete Menu Plans Collection on Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert Forum.
- The Love Food Hate Waste Two Week Menu.
8. Make a shopping list.
In one of my earlier posts (here), I admitted to being a ‘listaholic.’ Unfortunately, I’m not as disciplined when it comes to writing the most important list of all, the Shopping List.
Making a shopping list is a great way to avoid waste and save money. Checking through your cupboards not only helps you to make a note of things you need, it also stops you buying items you already have.
It’s a good idea to keep a shopping list in your kitchen, so you can note down items you need when they come to mind or when you run out. This is much more effective than writing your list just before you go shopping, because you are more likely to forget something.
9. Pick the best time to shop.
Most supermarkets have set times for marking down and discounting short-dated stock (look out for yellow stickers and visit the ‘marked down’ sections in stores). If you choose your shopping time wisely, products could be marked down by 75% or more. Although times may vary, supermarkets tend to have three main markdowns/reductions during the day: 25% (as early as 8am in some supermarkets), 50% (4-5pm) and 75+% (7-9pm).
If you spot short-dated or damaged items whilst you are shopping, staff and managers can usually mark down at their discretion so it’s always worth asking.
10. Store your food correctly.
You can keep your food fresher for longer by storing it correctly. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place, apples and other fruit in the fridge and bread in a cupboard or bread bin.
Find out more.
If you want to know more about reducing food waste, why not visit the Love Food, Hate Waste: HERE.
Love food Hate Waste is a registered charity whose aim is to:
Raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help us take action. It shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.
There are even more facts and figures about food waste on the WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) website (HERE). WRAP is a charity that works with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency.
Over to you.
How many of these tips do you follow to reduce food waste? Do you have any tips to share? Are you going to give any of these tips a try? As always, I’d love to hear from you.
Pin for later:
A little message from me!
If you like this post, please don’t forget to share it on social media. ‘Sharing is caring!’
All the images are ‘pinnable’ so don’t forget to Pin them for later.
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram using the social media buttons on the top of this page for updates between posts.
If you are enjoying my blog, it would be marvellous if you could support it by signing up to my email feed (see the subscribe box in the sidebar on the right on a computer or below on a tablet or smartphone) so you don’t miss a single post.
Great advice Jane! Especially about about the dates. So many people throw out food that is perfectly fine.
Thanks, Geraldine! I even had a pie that was two day’s over its date today…If you don’t see any more blog posts from me you know it was a step too far 😉
Great article- and on the bread in the freezer one, if you jiggle the loaf in its bag so it’s more higgledy-piggedly then it’s easier to get individual slices out 🙂
Thanks very much, Stephanie! Good advice re: bread. I end up trying to chisel it apart with a bread knife sometimes 😉
*breaths on fingernails and rubs on lapel* Finally something I’m pretty good at! All good tips though Jane.
Ha! Well done. I’ve had to practice what I preach and eat a piping hot Shepherd’s pie on the hottest day of year as it was going out of date! Then I did the ironing! Then I had to try and put the clothes back in wardrobes full of jumpers!!! Not helpful!!
Such great tips here! I drive Mr C insane over use by dates! He always tell me it’s fine and I am put it in the bin! The cookery class I attended made me realise that this didn’t need to be the case! I also learnt that you can freeze cheese – who knew! I need to get out more 😉 #MarvMondays
Lol, the ‘get out more’ comment made me chuckle! I felt like that when I was writing this post…I was getting super excited about the fact I could freeze bananas!!
Great tips, I find I waste less when I make a list and meal plan #dream team
It makes such a difference doesn’t it, Charlotte? I do need to be more consistent.
I try not to worry too much about best before dates – especially on sealed items. I always eat my yogurt past it’s date – unless it smells really bad it’s fine! I find most of the dating on stuff still requires common sense. I also love checking out the discounted racks for food “about to expire” You can usually get great deals there!
A list is so important as I always forget the 2 thing I actually needed and end up buying what I didn’t need after all. This is a great list of tips!
Thanks for your really helpful comment and encouragement, Jessica.
We are passionate about this in our home brilliant tips great post #bloggerclubuk
Yay! That’s great, Nige. Thanks for your lovely comment.
Great post! I hate food waste and used to get really distressed at the amount we threw out each week. Now I plan my meals weekly and shop online to stop me buying extras! #bloggerclubuk
Yay, Charlene! That’s great. Thanks for stopping by.
Such great tips here – I have to say I’m awful for sell by dates and losing track! I think the other week I had 3 packets of mince in the fridge ooops – I had to make a massive chilli to use it up. Love this post, really useful xx #dreamteam #marvmondays
Ha! I sometimes have to cook a right menagerie of things to use all of the stuff in my fridge! Thanks, Bridie.
Great advice. I love doing a bit of bargain shopping in the reduced aisle & then planning our healthy meals around the items I’ve bought. It saves a fortune and you get a good variety too #BloggerClubUK
*whispers… I didn’t realise the difference between those food labels! I won’t need to be as prescious with the best before dates I think. We do some freezing, but I don’t think we do enough. Pheww… I do actually freeze our bread though, and I tend to do the make once, eat twice batches where possible. Always a challenge though with Mr Button going for seconds… and thirds! Thank you so much for linking up to the #dreamteam X
Thanks for hosting. Annette! Ha, yes, sometimes the extra bit of food you made isn’t worth freezing once the family have piled in for seconds and thirds…It doesn’t just happen in your house!
Great tips! I always get confused between the use by best by/display by so this post is a really helpful reminder. We do some of the other things like make a list and plan our meals which do make a real difference 🙂 Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily
Yes, I think there will be some things on this list we are good at and some we could do better at. I know that my list and planning skills need polishing when it comes to shopping for food. Thanks for stopping by.
All fabulous advice. I have 7 people in my house right now and I hate wasting food and have gotten pretty good at making enough food so we don’t have leftovers as no one likes them usually. I’m popping over from #bloggerclubuk
Wow! With 7 in the tribe you need to be super-organised!
Brilliant tips! Completely agree, will be sharing this one x #bloggerclubuk
I’m great fan of reduced food and using everything up before it goes off. Quite often dinner is the result of a ‘fridge dive’!
Ha, yes, we have a few ‘Ready, Steady Cook’ type meals in our house too…What can I make with a carrot, some raisins and an egg, lol!
Meal plans helped me out massively this year with food waste. Pretty much the only thing I throw away now is packaging. Batch cooking and soup is your friend in the battle against waste!
Thanks so much for your comments, DAvid. I agree and we are trying to be better at batch cooking and freezing. Our Lakeland soupmaker has really helped!