Sometimes the idea of reducing food waste seems complicated and all about minutely-detailed planning. But it’s just as much about what we don’t do, and focusing our efforts on a few key areas. So here are 3 key areas where you can waste less food, starting today!
Less food waste at home
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I talk about this all the time. That’s because it’s important and saves you money at the grocery in a big way.
We’re all guilty of it: going to the grocery for one bell pepper, but then doing the math and realizing the bag of 4 is cheaper. And then a couple of weeks later, after a hectic time at work, you open your veggie crisper to find the other 3 poor buggers spotted with fuzz. And when you think about it, it’s not saving money in the first place if you don’t use it all up!
Reducing food waste at home is one of the best things you can do to lower your grocery bill, because the less you waste, the less you have to buy in the end. You can do this in a few ways, such as by having recipes on standby to use up fresh food, or just buying less in the first place and stretching food as fully as possible. For more ideas, check out my one-pager with 5 ways to reduce food waste.
In the grocery store
You’ve probably heard of “voting with your dollar” before, right? As consumers, we are very powerful, and we can basically reward companies that use great practices—like those that are more sustainable! Buying fresh produce that’s local and in season is a great example of this.
But if you live in a colder country like I do (hello, Canada!), you know that most of the produce section of the grocery isn’t exactly local during the winter. By bringing in produce from far away, the grocery is receiving food that is less fresh when it arrives and therefore spoils more quickly. Or the produce is sent very underripe, in hopes it will last longer, but the quality is very poor. Have you ever had one of those imported peaches off-season? They literally never ripen and go straight to the rotten stage. (It’s not just me, right?!) Whether the produce is rotting sooner or so low-quality that you can’t eat it, it’s still going to mean more waste.
So instead of getting things like those imported peaches off-season, why not help create demand for better-preserved products, such as canned or frozen fruits and veggies? Not only do they store much better, they’re also jam-packed with nutrients because they’re processed right away before they lose any of that goodness!
Even better (and super affordable): you can stock up when there’s a great sale on fresh, local produce at the grocery and can or freeze your own to last you year-round!
On the farm
That’s right, we’re going right to the production site! You might be wondering, “I’m not a farmer; how am I going to reduce food waste on a farm?” And I don’t blame you!
At the farm level, lots of produce is ugly. Tomatoes that are strangely shaped, or avocadoes that have a scabby-looking skin on them, or carrots that have split into little 4-legged alien creatures, these are all discarded on the farm before they even make it to the supermarket. They are considered unsellable because the grocery thinks consumers won’t buy them. And they’re right, after all! Who’s going to buy a weird avocado when they can get a normal-looking one for the same price?
Well, I challenge you to be that person! The truth is, these fruits and veggies are still perfectly safe and nutritious to eat. They aren’t trash at all, but rather food items that are being discarded for superficial reasons. You can go to a farmer’s market and get ugly food sometimes (especially if you ask for it), and I encourage you to do so! And next time you’re picking out a lemon from the produce stand at the grocery, maybe grab the one that has a little scab on its skin. When lots of people do it, these small acts show influential people that food doesn’t need to be perfect in order for a farmer to send it to market!
Which of these three would be the biggest impact in your journey towards less food waste? Let us know below if you’re already killing it on some areas, and which ones could be game-changers for you with a few simple changes!