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Features // Blog

Everyday ways to cut your food waste

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

The Great British Food team

Jun 07, 2023
11 minutes to read

9am: Have a fruity start to the day

Fruit and vegetables have endless benefits for both your health, and the planet, if you choose correctly. Firstly, make sure you opt for loose varieties that are locally-sourced. Ditch the unnecessary plastic that supermarkets coat them in; especially fruits like oranges and bananas, which have their

own natural protective peels. Use a brown paper bag that can be recycled in all other cases. Also, if you notice that your bananas starting to turn brown and overripe, or your berries are going soft – throw them into a blender, not the bin. Making smoothies with fruit or vegetables that have turned a little mushy is an easy way to ensure they’re still being eaten. Finally, remember that fruits and vegetables can easily be repurposed as compost. All you need to do is make a pit in your garden and put your waste in this instead of a bin, which can then be used to enrich your garden plants!

11am: Wise up to food expiry dates

A use-by date on your food is about safety and refers to the day in which you should safely eat a product before it could harm your health. These are seen on foods that go off quickly, such as meat products. A best-before date, on the other hand, refers to the quality of an item. The food will be safe to eat after this date, but it may not be at its best. For example, the flavour and texture might not be as good.

12pm: Have leftovers for lunch

There are an abundance of dishes that can be made with a little imagination and the remaining foods in your fridge, as Rosalind Rathouse, who runs classes in how to avoid food waste at The Cookery School on Little Portland Street (, points out. “I make a great ‘bottom of the fridge’ soup

using leftovers. The secret is to always brown onions or leeks in olive oil (garlic can be added, if desired) as they give a lovely flavour to anything. Then, throw in cut-up veg and salad leftovers, as well as any herbs, and cook until tender. Blitz, and season well. Seasoning is so important, as it makes the difference between a dull bowl of soup and a tasty one. For a treat, roast leftover bread, cubed and tossed in olive oil, and add the croutons to the soup just before serving.”

2pm: Befriend your freezer

“Freeze anything that you will not eat the same day,” recommends Rosalind. “When you take this dish out a few weeks later, it feels like a treat as you don’t have to cook something complicated. If you are only freezing leftover herbs, it’s good to know you have them in stock if you have been unable to find fresh ones on that particular day. I keep frozen parsley as a stock item in my freezer.”

4pm: Subscribe to a wonky veg box

“Supermarkets dictate to growers what to produce based on customers’ expectations,” says Emilie Vanpoperinghe, Oddbox co-founder ( “. “They have very strict requirements about product appearance, to ensure food looks good on the shelves. They believe consumers expect each pack of tomatoes, apples and courgettes to look exactly the same, and shop with their eyes. In order to meet supermarket demand for the perfect produce, and to ensure there is never a shortage, the growers have to hugely over-produce. This way, there’s always an abundance of perfectly good fresh fruits and veg produced, with wonky or surplus produce often ending up in landfill, or left in the field. But, there is another way, as Emilie explains: “At Oddbox, we rescue the perfectly tasty, wonky

produce and deliver it to our customers every week. Each of our boxes actually reduces food waste, so together, we can make a huge impact.”

6pm: Change the way you cook dinner

Bought too much during your weekly shop? No worries! Head chef, Benn Hodges at EatFirst ( has some imaginative ways to use excess ingredients. “Ferment and pickle kale stalks and broccoli stems to use as a pickle in special dishes. Use the trimmings from your veggies to create a delicious natural vegetable stock. Simply bring to the boil and leave to steep overnight in the fridge. Turn the tomato trim from the top of your tomatoes into delicious tomato and chilli jam. You could even dehydrate mushroom peelings and use them in rice seasoning.”

7-8pm: Do your food shop late

“Supermarkets will reduce food prices early in the day, sometimes the night before, at around 25% off the retail price,” explains blogger, Laura Gaga ( “These discounts will increase throughout the day, and final reductions can be between 75-90%, with the hours of seven to eight in the evening being the optimal time to grab a bargain. Get into the habit of checking the reduced sections irrespective of which store you’re in, including petrol stations or mini supermarkets. There is usually an allocated crate in the fruit and veg, dairy, meat and bakery aisles. Look out for dry goods, too – usually products with damaged packaging or bruised will be discounted.

10pm: Download an app

Suddenly remembered you’re out for dinner tomorrow and won’t get a chance to use up those last few carrots? Download Olio and donate them instead. “Olio is a food sharing app where users can advertise food that they no longer want, for whatever reason.” says Laura. “All you need to do is take a photo of your unwanted food, then share on the platform and people can message to take it off your hands. Businesses such as Deliciously Ella and Pret a Manger also distribute food which would otherwise be wasted.”

Reprinted with permission from Natural Health magazine

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