Friday, 18 January 2013

Food Waste Friday - the chilly one!

Last week was the week food waste hit the national headlines; the Institute of Mechanical Engineers produced a report on Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not, "found that between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate." (The Guardian). 

The Guardian was peddling advice which is old news to all of us, but it's good to see the message hitting a wider audience; do buy 'ugly' fruit and veg (in the UK 30% of vegetables that are grown are not even harvested because they don't meet the standards that supermarkets and consumers demand), do cook from scratch, do treat sell-by and best-before dates with scepticism. And as we know, all these measures will save you money: for the average UK family the Guardian reckons possibly £50 a month.

Home made pasties...
and  fruit loaves.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I willingly do all of those things (no horse meat burgers in our freezer). But achieving zero food waste is hard. This week we very nearly got there but sadly waved goodbye to a tub of coleslaw, that had been bought on a reduced label. A bargain isn't a bargain if you don't really need it, and salad and coleslaw haven't been a popular option in recent cold weather.

Today's snow!

You don't see the Narnia effect often in Wiltshire
so you've got to work it into a blog post somehow!

I partially atoned for the wasted coleslaw. We rarely eat out, but when we do, do we stop thinking about food waste? After a recent pizza meal gift from a member of the family, we took the leftover bits of pizza home in a box, but we also asked for an extra box to bring home all the salad leftovers (including coleslaw), pizza crusts and pasta twists for the chickens. It may well be that Pizza Hut has a food waste recycling system, but at least I know for sure that our food waste ended up being recycled into eggs.

Other chilly food waste advice! If you are bringing your shopping home on a sledge, make sure you don't lose any items when you bump the sledge up the kerb! We lost a bag of flour this way today. Retracing our steps, we recovered our escaping red lentils (although coleslaw may be unpopular there's a run on tomato and lentil soup!), but not the malted flour. I hope the finder makes a good loaf.

For more food waste news, watch ITV's Tonight programme What a Waste broadcast yesterday and available to watch on ITV catch up.

And don't forget to enter the Food for Free giveaway on this blog; just leave a comment on yesterday's blog post!

Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by, to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it. 


  1. Your snow looks beautiful! We still haven't had any here this winter.

    I like how you put it, about recycling your own restaurant food waste. You achieved a much more direct result -- eggs. The restaurant may have had a composting pickup service, but that would've had to be trucked (fuel expended), then turned in to compost, then trucked back to sell to public (more fuel), then incorporated into soil for growing something.

    With your family, the leftovers just traveled with you home in your vehicle (no additional fuel consumed), then fed to chickens, with a direct result of something else edible! Now that's a "good save"!

    1. Snow's been beautiful and lovely when school was off on Friday, but turning to slush and not so fun to try and get to work/school etc today!

  2. Even though I don't really want them, I'm almost thinking about getting chickens so they can handle the food scraps around here. :)

    I know that a tremendous amount of waste goes on, especially with food, but when there is a number like 30-50% never makes it to a plate, does that include the bigger picture of poor food distribution systems in poorer countries and the corrupt governments that won't allow literally tons of food to get their people as a means of control?

    Also, love the snow pictures.

    1. The report of the report (as it were) that I read said: "The UK's Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) blames the "staggering" new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with "poor engineering and agricultural practices", inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities." Inadequate infrastructure probably includes poor food distribution but not sure about corrupt governments.

  3. Not only do we want our food fast and ready-packaged, but now the public knows it's preference for perfect looking food causes even more waste. If it comes from the earth it will most likely not look perfect, get used to it people, as we aren't perfect either. This kind of information makes me sick when so many countries don't have enough to eat.

  4. I didn't realise chickens could eat scraps. I'd love to keep them but think my landlord would protest. He has an immaculate lawn and patio area.

    1. Hi Norman, most chicken keepers I know are happy to let their chickens have scraps such as veg leftovers, rice, bread etc. However chickens need their layers pellets too for a balanced diet. Ours seem to do fine! Rest assured they would scratch up a lawn in no time but you can get some dinky little runs these days...

  5. Well, this is a great idea I would advise all the restaurant owners to do not throw the food waste, just feed them to chickens. It will fill the chicken's hunger and no food will get wasted.

  6. Want Not, "found that between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes survival warehouse florida of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate.