Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food waste in our kitchens - Blog Action Day 2011

How much unused food do you throw away? Are you one of the households where 50% of salad leaves get thrown out as green sludge? According to the website stopfoodwaste.ie, about 1/3 of the food we purchase ends up in the bin, costing the average household up to €1,000 per annum. The most common foodstuffs which find themselves in the bin are bread, apples and potatoes.

Food waste isn't limited to just households. Think of all those useless side salads on your plate in restaurants that you don't eat - the total effect of uneaten food in Irish restaurants comes to a stunning €125 million


I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011 www.blogactionday.org

October 16th is World Food Day, an event used to mark the foundation of the  Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in 1945. October 16th is also Blog Action Day, an annual event whereby the global blogging community unites to focus on a particular topic of immediate concern. As a result, the selected topic for Blog Action Day 2011 is "Food" and registered participants are free to write on any relevant area.

As a poor Ph.D. student, I learned the hard way not to over-purchase when food shopping. It's all too easy when out in the supermarket or that lovely farmers' market to end up with trollies or baskets full of produce. Everything looks so good in the shop, but later on in the week when throwing food in the bin, you can feel the pennies slipping through your fingers.

Simple tips to help you avoid over-purchasing include the following:
  • Plan your meals in advance and purchase what you need. Granted, this requires some discipline.
  • Don't shop when hungry. This is common sense really, after all "Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras"
  • Don't get suckered by multi-purchase deals (i.e. 2 for 1) deals that you don't really need. This also extends to multipacks. Do you really need a bag of 10 apples or will 4 loose apples suit your needs better?
  • Check best-before or use-by dates before placing the goods in the trolley. Supermarkets rotate stock on their shelves so that older produce is typically located towards the front. This gives you less time to use the product. Instead, look on the shelves for a further in the future date.
For more savvy tips and advice on fighting against food waste, visit Stop Food Waste. By taking some simple actions, you can keep more money in your pocket as well as reducing the amount of waste being generated for your rubbish collection. 
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6 comments

WiseMóna said...

The statistics are staggering. €125 million? I agree ( being a poor student too) that planning is key to less waste. Well having four kids helps too, considering they are all growing little savages. I would hope that with all this recession talk that most people would be doing a savvier weekly shop and wasting less. Great to see your post. Now off to see if any of the other Irish Food Bloggers took part.

Karen O'Connell said...

Great post Joanne! All those 'deals' in supermarkets are more about reducing their own waste bills than passing on value to the consumer I think.

Stef said...

There's also a major problem with best before/use by dates that are more to do with covering the supermarkets arse than being informative. I'll often eat food past its use by date given that it doesn't smell gone off or look like it's about to turn but I know so many people who won't even open the packet to see if food is alright before throwing it out if it's even a day over the date.

dudara said...

Great point there Stef - it's important to be aware of the difference between a Use-by date and a Best Before date.

Food is usually still quite edible after the Best Before date i.e. biscuits.

In the case of Use-by dates i.e. with meat and milk, I use my common sense. A good sniff and a good glance will usually let you know what state the food is in.

Stef said...

Yep, I'm exactly the same, there's good reasons why evolution has given us a sense of smell and detecting food that could be dangerous is one of the main ones!

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