Did you know that the average British household wastes about a week’s worth of groceries every month? That’s a huge seven million tonnes a year, enough to fill 210 Royal Albert Halls.
The average UK household could save £60 a month, simply by not throwing out perfectly good food and drink
But as well as impacting on the environment, it’s also hitting our wallets.
Helen White from Love Food Hate Waste, a campaign raising awareness of food waste, says, "If you found £60, you’d be delighted, right? Well, the average UK household could save £60 a month, simply by not throwing out perfectly good food and drink."
At Asda, we’re seriously committed to reducing waste, from reviewing packaging so that food stays fresher longer, to calculating the right stock for the right store at the right time.
As Chris Brown, Asda’s Sustainable Business Director, explains, "We visited every point in the supply chain to see where food is wasted, and to see how and where we can make improvements.
"Plus, 85% of customers told us they want to reduce waste at home," he adds, "so this year we teamed up with WRAP [Waste and Resources Action Programme] to deliver Love Food Hate Waste activities in store. Our 350 Community Life Champions organised games, provided tips and recipes, and gave out freebies to help customers."
10 Top food-saving hacks
- Make sure your fridge is at the right temperature – any warmer than 5°C and your food will go off quicker.
- Raw eggs can be frozen – either divide yolk and white into separate bags, or beat together before freezing.
- Microwave a lemon or lime for a few seconds to get the most juice out of it.
- If your celery is limp, trim the ends and stand in a glass of ice-cold water for 30 mins to rehydrate it.
- Mash and freeze over-ripe bananas, to make banana bread later.
- Use onion, carrot and celery trimmings to make stock. Chuck in a pan of water, season and simmer. Good for freezing in ice-cube trays to use later.
- Freeze wilting herbs in an ice-cube tray with olive oil or melted butter. Then add to soups and casseroles for extra flavour.
- Use the oil from drained tuna or jars of olives and sundried tomatoes to make a dressing with added flavour.
- Mash leftover chickpeas or other pulses with garlic, lemon juice and herbs for a DIY houmous-style dip.
- Use stale bread to make croutons for salads or soup. Cut off the crusts, spread with butter, cut into cubes and bake for 15 minutes.
Wonderfully wonky Vegetable
It may not look perfect, but customers are still loving the taste. Last February, Asda launched its £3.50 Wonky Veg boxes in an initiative to cut food waste and help increase the returns to farmers. Each box contains 5.5kg of misshapen produce – like carrots, spuds, onions, peppers, cabbages, leeks, cucumbers and parsnips – not deemed ‘pretty’ enough for most supermarkets, even though it’s just as tasty!
It was a huge success, with the first 2,500 boxes selling out in just 36 hours.
We’ve since sold 50,000 Wonky Veg boxes (weighing an impressive 275 tonnes) that would otherwise have ended up as animal feed or landfill. Look out for them in store from 20 January.
Long live good food
Here's how to use foods in your fridge that need eating up.
Cheese – grate hard cheeses such as Cheddar and Red Leicester, then freeze to use in omelettes, pizza toppings, cheese sauces and pasta dishes and to make cheese bread.
Cooked meat – mix chopped chicken, bacon or salami with pasta, veg and a drizzle of flavoured oil; turn cooked beef into fajitas by frying with onions and peppers and serving in wraps.
Raw meat – divide into smaller portions and freeze before the ‘use by’ date; or make into curries or stews and freeze in ready-meal batches.
Fruit – blend with milk to make a delicious shake; purée then stir into yogurt for breakfast; cook and then freeze to use in pies.
Veg – make up a batch of soup; add squishy tomatoes to pasta sauces; cook mushrooms, then freeze to add to stews; use to make a vegetable stock.
Yogurt – use as a topping for cereal instead of milk; freeze in moulds to make lollies; mix plain yogurt with cucumber, garlic, herbs and lemon zest for a dip.
Milk – use for a shake or custard; make in to a batch of white sauce, then freeze to use in lasagne, cauliflower cheese or fish pie.
Make a date
Get to grips with what the different dates on food labels mean – and you’ll be less likely to throw food away.
'Use by' - This is found on fresh foods that go off quickly, such as meat, fish and salads. This is the date you really need to take notice of. It’s fine to eat food up to the end of this date, but not after this time as it will be unsafe to eat – even if it looks or smells fine. If you have food that is coming up to the ‘use by’ date, it’s best to cook and freeze it if you’re not going to eat it. Always defrost food in a fridge, use within 24 hours and cook until steaming hot all the way through.
'Best before' - This date relates to the quality of a food rather than its safety. Food will still be safe to eat after this date, although it may be past its best in terms of texture and taste.