This week, the news has been all about food waste and it just so happens it’s one of our favourite subjects (we’re new parents, we don’t get out much!)
Here are the current facts (sourced from the Food Standard Agency)
- As a nation, we throw out 7 million tonnes of food every year
- Bread, fruit and vegetables are the most commonly thrown away foods
- Wasting this food costs the average household in the UK £470 a year – we would all much rather keep hold of that!
- Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes – so we all have a part to play in improving the situation
UK manufacturing and retail sectors waste 1.9 million tonnes of food and drink a year and so at Sulston’s Kitchen we would rather not contribute to this issue, but instead find ways to be more sustainable. We apply the concept of ‘nose to tail’ (or ‘root to stalk’ if you’re a London hipster) to all our ingredients as we aim to make use of it all. For example we utilise entire cauliflowers. The florets go into our prepped meals then the stalks and leaves go into our soups. We use canned chickpeas AND the water they come in to make our hummus and we also re-use the cans as cutlery holders.
Based on our experience, most restaurants work on around 20% waste and for the big boys, that’s quite a lot. However, there is a fresh set of ‘zero waste’ restaurants raising the bar and not only from a food waste stand point but they are also taking a stance on reducing their carbon footprint too. Take a look at Silo in Brighton and Tiny Leaf in London for good examples of this. Another really cool thing being done by a company called Optiat is the collection of used coffee grounds from London coffee houses, which is essentially a by-product to them, and repurposing into beauty products. At Sulston’s Kitchen we have literally just started to give our used coffee grounds to a local entrepreneur looking to up cycle into body scrubs.
Lets face it; from a business point of view, throwing stuff out is bad for the bottom line. Being a small business, this is something we are hot on at Sulston’s Kitchen. Without making this blog a plug for our meal plans… well, ok just a small one, reducing food waste is one of the primary reasons we set up the Sulston’s Kitchen meal plan service. How many times have you been to the supermarket and bought way too much veg, half of which goes off? Or how often do you find yourself cooking way too much rice because it NEVER looks enough when you pour it in the pan and don’t get us started on those spaghetti measurer things! With our tailored meals delivered to you in exact portion sizes, you are being a conscious consumer and doing your bit towards reducing food waste as well as saving yourself time and money! (You can sign up here. You’re welcome.)
Making small changes really can help reduce this global issue of food waste and so here are our top tips for you at home:
- Write a menu for the week – this really can help to plan what and when you are eating so you only buy the ingredients you actually need
- Write a shopping list – and stick to it! Base it on your menu and don’t be swayed by multi-buy offers or end of aisle deals you never knew you needed, because, well, you don’t
- Weigh your food – as anal as this sounds it will really help limit those ‘eyes are bigger than your belly’ moments (give us a shout if you need some help with food quantity/weight)
- Freeze food – there is not much you can’t freeze and so providing you do so within its use by date, it will be good to go at a later date
- Make soup – this is a great way of using up a load of veg including all the bits you would usually discard like stalks and leaves. As we mentioned before, cauliflower leaves are fab, as are broccoli stalks. They contain a lot of the nutrients
- Compost – given that fruit and veg are amongst the most commonly thrown away foods, you may as well use your mouldy kale as nutrient dense food for your favourite plant
- Lower your standards – no, we not talking relationships here. Were talking ‘ugly’ fruit and veg. The more imperfections the better the taste, in our opinion!
- Buy local – we are realists and appreciate getting to a gazillion different shops to buy your meat, veg, fish etc is a challenge when you could pop to the one-stop-shop aka supermarket BUT if you do, your food will be way more fresh and healthy, you will be supporting your local economy, supporting local jobs, keeping your community unique and getting a more personalised service. So, yeah, it is worth it.
If you have any other top tips, please comment below and share your wisdom. This is just the tip of the iceberg and we are keen to explore more 🙂