Solutions 

How to prevent food waste?
 
The reduction and prevention of further food waste production is in our hands - as individuals, members of communities, institutions and governments. There are a vast number of ways to make valuable contributions for each kind of stakeholder; from making simple daily changes, to even changing policy. 

 

Every little bit counts towards a big change for our futures on this planet. 
Consumer Level

 

Home

  • Understand expiration dates: Truth is, most food can be consumed way after expiration dates. They vaguely represent quality, but have nothing to do with safety. We recommend to not throw anything out past the expiration date, and rather taste or the item itself. Chances are it’s still good to go ;)

  • Use an app: Use an app for food expiration reminders. 

  • Zero Down on your fridge: Before buying extra groceries, make sure to use and eat food that’s already in your fridge. It will save you time, money and avoid generating waste. 

  • First in, first out: It’s the cooking hierarchy. First, eat what you bought first. Then store canned goods, and keep the oldest at the front. 

  • Say Freeze!: Your freezer is your friend. Freezers allow you to store and keep produce for an indefinite amount of time. If you think you’re unable to eat your produce any time soon, don’t hesitate to freeze it and take it out when you’re ready.

 

Grocery shopping

  • Buy local: Prioritize buying fresh produce from farmer’s markets and community gardens. Not only is it a way to support local businesses, but it’s a great way to actively reduce our ecological footprint. Buying locally sourced foods implies a dramatic reduction of industrial pollution!

  • Shop smart: Plan your meals ahead and use shopping lists to avoid impulse buys. Marketing tricks are great at seducing us to purchase more food items than we need, and which are most often easily perishable. 

  • Shop from bulk bins: Instead of buying dry foods in pre-packaged containers, buy exactly what you need from bulk bins. Take a container from home - a reused glass jar, for example - and purchase the exact quantity you need. Try this method for rice, grains, spices, loose tea, and nuts.

  • Don’t reject funky produce!: No matter what, fruits are fruits, and veggies are veggies. Supermarkets tend to throw out thousands of perfectly good products that just “don’t look right”. This can mean anything from a dent, to not the gith colour shade. To avoid waste production, make sure you buy produce that looks imperfect; it’s actually just as good. Better yet, these are often on sale!

Restaurant

  • Take leftovers home: Everybody knows that one of the best things of going out for meals is eating the leftovers on the next day. Take action in waste reduction by always asking for your leftovers! Take it a little further by encouraging restaurants to donate unwanted leftovers. 

  • Think twice: Although leftovers are nice, it’s always a safer choice to finish what you order. Before you order your food, make sure the size is just right.

Community

  • Join food waste awareness events

  • Share knowledge about cooking, canning or food storage

  • Share the bounty of your home garden with your community through the following platform: ampleharvest.org 

  • Donate: Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries and shelters. Local and national programs frequently offer free pick-up and provide reusable containers to donors.

  • Be creative with scraps: Find different ways to create new dishes or items with unused vegetable trimmings, or your surplus of produce stock. Transform them into soups, stock cubes, powders, pickled foods, breadcrumbs, dried fruits or veggies.

  • Have a strategic menu: Compose your menu in a way where you can feature the same ingredients in different dishes. This will prevent fresh produce from getting perished, and will save you time and money. 

  • Exchange ideas with your suppliers: Discuss your menu ideas with your suppliers. It’s likely that they have good knowledge of what other chef’s are doing, and may have good advice on ways to use produce differently to avoid food waste.

Hospitality Industry

  • Study your customers: If dishes don’t come back empty, consider that your portions may be too large. Make sure you’re serving quantities that just about satisfy consumers to avoid wasting food. 

  • Pay attention to seasonal produce and regional dishes: Crafting dishes with ingredients that grow regionally and seasonally has many benefits. Menus with local specialties are appealing to consumers while promoting the local sourcing of products. It’s also a financially smart move as ingredients will be easier to find and abundant. Remember to freeze fresh produce!

Producers Level

  • Promote private sector investment in the food industry: Creating linkages between processors and farms can be the source of many great solutions for food waste prevention. For example, it may be the key for providing facilities for seasonal products in developing countries. This ‘enabling environment’ can reduce food loss further by providing know-how expertise or resources to carry out harvest and postharvest activities.

  • Market and upscale small farmers: Upscale and diversity the production and marketing of small farmers to increase their chances of receiving government credit. They can help assemble products, enable transportation and distribute their produce to other channels. 

  • Develop markets for ‘sub-standard’ products: ‘Sub’ standard products are discarded from standardized production lines. This means that many good, nutritional items get thrown out and wasted. It’s important to develop a market who will happily take in such products and avoid waste production. This can be enabled with more collaborations between research institutes, public and private sectors.

  • Invest in consumer research: Conducting research on consumer behaviour is one of the best ways to discover new strategies for managing food waste. For example, studies have found that consumers are willing to buy differently shaped products if taste is not affected.

  • Deepen knowledge, technology and infrastructure: More knowledge on safe food handling practices and investment on infrastructure can reduce the amount of rejected products and ensure a higher food security status. For developing countries, these investments also mean storage and transportation facilities that enable the preservation of fresh produce.

  •  Coordinate financial services and supply to developing countries’ markets: Small holders can reduce losses with help from producer organizations by coordinating production planning across farms and allocating harvesting schedules according to market needs. Financial services can help to avoid permaculture harvesting; lack of finances often forces farmers to harvest produce early, lowering the nutritional and economic value of the crop as a result. 

Food circle (1).png
Sapient.png
Food circle (2).png

Project of Sapient SEE

Alliance member of SEEDS

Contact

FoodCircleWebsite_Icons-02.png
FoodCircleWebsite_Icons-01.png
FoodCircleWebsite_Icons-03.png
FoodCircleWebsite_Icons-05.png
FoodCircleWebsite_Icons-04.png