An average of 88 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the European Union , and globally we wasted around 2.5 billion tonnes in the past year . In a world where hunger has not yet been eradicated, these are decidedly worrying figures: according to the 2021 Global Hunger Index, the situation is at an alarming level in Somalia, Chad, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, Yemen, Burundi and Syria.
Even in Italy the estimates of waste are worrying: each citizen of the Bel Paese wastes almost 600 grams of food per week, especially fresh fruit, onions, tubers, bread, salads and vegetables. We buy more than we need, forget food in the pantry or let it expire.
What can we do to reduce waste
Surely all of us can do something concrete to avoid throwing away food that could be consumed and avoid filling the bins with food that is still good, by changing the way we shop, cook and plan meals.
This is why we want to provide you with some concrete advice to reduce waste, starting with seemingly " small " changes in daily habits but which in the long run will allow us to avoid losses of food, money and even resources.
- Always make a shopping list - It seems trivial, but it's actually not. A large part of our waste is a direct consequence of the non-organisation of meals. If we find ourselves in the supermarket without really knowing what we need, it is clearly easier to buy foods that we don't really need and therefore risk making leftovers and then having to throw something away (especially when we buy foods on offer because they are close to expiry). Planning the meals of the week in advance and arriving at the supermarket aware of what we need, complete with a shopping list in hand, is a functional way of not overbuying.
- Prepare adequate portions and, if abundant, learn to recycle leftovers - Serving a correct portion allows us both not to exceed our needs (and therefore, consequently, to put on weight!) and not to leave food left over because we are "too full" . However, if it should happen anyway, it is good to learn how to recycle leftovers, even if only reusing them for a work lunch. From leftovers, in fact, creative and tasty snacks or new recipes can be born: even just a piece of omelette can become a perfect sandwich for a mid-morning break.
- Check the expiry date – “Best before…” means that the expiry date printed is mandatory because the food, if consumed after that date, can pose a health risk. "Best before..." instead means that the food could lose some organoleptic properties if consumed after the date indicated, but this does not involve any risk for the consumer. If we are aware of this difference, it will be easier to buy even discounted products and make the most of them. So let's not throw away food to be consumed "best before", because it would be a waste!
- Learn to use what you have available – If we still have something to eat in the fridge or pantry, it's not essential to go shopping. Thanks to online search engines it is very easy to find recipes to invent dishes even with a few simple ingredients, avoiding constantly filling the refrigerator with foods that we risk punctually expiring (or going bad).
- Store food wisely – Our last tip is perhaps the most practical. Get into the habit of moving older produce to the front of the pantry or refrigerator, and leaving new, fresh produce in the back. Use airtight containers to store fresh food that you've already opened, and make sure the packages are sealed to keep bugs out. Also, remember that cooked food and leftovers should be placed on the upper shelves of the refrigerator, eggs, dairy products and cured meats on the central shelves, raw meat and fish on the lower shelves and in the fruit and vegetable drawer.
Be a Food Waste Warrior
Even if with our advice you are certainly well on your way to combating daily food waste , we want to point out that many companies are implementing various initiatives to reduce waste: in addition to platforms and apps such as " Too Good To Go ", also on several online sites have sections against waste, in order to promote the consumption of products close to expiry .
Also on our site you can try a section dedicated to Last Minutes ( https://www.iafstore.com/ita/last-minute/ ), i.e. those products which, due to their imminent deadline, are sold at decidedly advantageous prices.
No one supports waste, neither of food nor of time and opportunities. Let's all work together to make a difference, for the planet and for society .