New packaging and the benefits of redistributing food to those in need
Obviously the best thing that can happen to our food is that it gets eaten - after all we throw away millions of tonnes of food a year from our homes which is responsible for the equivalent of 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Putting that into context - if we stopped wasting this good food it would have the same environmental impact as taking 20% of the cars off our roads.
Making the most of our food can be easy, simply by making small changes to the way we buy, cook and store food. Have a look at our ever increasing list of top hints and tips which have been supplied by top chefs, members of the public with a real passion about food, Love Food Hate Waste and celebrities. To add your own simply fill in the form here and send them over - I'll have a look and add them on!
WRAP and Love Food Hate Waste work closely with the food industry to prevent food being wasted in the grocery supply chain and also to work with brands and retailers to help us all waste less food at home, such as through better packaging.
In fact Tesco and Asda have recently announced that they will be using new packaging that keeps fruit and veg fresh TWICE as long. The packaging slows down the rate of decay keeping food fresh for longer, is bio-degradable and compostable and allows moisture and gases produced by ripening produce to escape. It will first be used on packs of potatoes so keep an eye out in store.
However there is still some food out there which was once on its way to go to waste but has been saved by food redistribution organisations who make sure it is used for those who need it most.
Companies, charities and individuals can all benefit from the redistribution of surplus food. Charities such as FareShare redistribute industry surpluses to organisations around the country, helping to feed the millions of people in this country who don't have access to a decent diet. Every day an average of 35,500 people benefit from the service FareShare provides.
But Fareshare are not alone. FoodCycle empowers local communities to set up groups of volunteers to collect surplus produce locally and prepare nutritious meals in unused professional kitchen spaces. These meals are then served to those in need in the community. Why not pop along to one of their community cafes to find out more?
The Trussell Trust food banks project provides a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. All food is donated by the public and sorted by volunteers.
And one excellent example of a food bank local to us is Oxford Food Bank which collects good quality fresh food from local supermarkets and wholesalers and delivers it for free to numerous local registered charities. For every £1 they receive in donations they deliver at least £25 worth of fruit, vegetables, bread and dairy products to those in need.
And then finally on this whistle stop tour of food redistribution 'Where there’s muck there’s brassica’! Gleaning Network UK is a new initiative to save surplus produce from farms across the UK by coordinating local volunteers, growers and food redistribution charities. The network is appealing to farmers across the country to allow volunteer ‘gleaners’ to harvest their unwanted produce for charity. Several tonnes of produce – enough for thousands of meals – have already been saved including apples, kale, cauliflowers, red, white and savoy cabbages.
So...what's my point? Well, we can all do something to stop food from going to waste and today why not take a look around the Love Food Hate Waste website to discover more about the issue and find some great leftover recipes and tips for wasting less.