UK homes throw away a staggering 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink each year, costing the average family £680. But there is a simple way to cut down on food waste, and save money and time into the bargain: The humble shopping list! Who’d have thought it, eh?
The simplest way to save shoe leather when food shopping is to make a quick shopping list!
It may be an obvious suggestion, but how many times have you rushed off to the shops only to find yourself unsure whether you already have enough rice or potatoes? Ever just added a bag of salad to the trolley ‘just in case’ and then got home to find another already in there and you definitely know at least one of those will end up in the bin…?
My top tips will make list-making second nature. Spend a few minutes planning your list before you leave the house and you’ll navigate the shopping aisles in a much shorter trip.
- Get the kids to help and to suggest what meals they’d like to have that week. Then you can work out a meal plan for the week – if you know what you’re having you only buy what you need and don’t have to worry about what to cook when you get home!
- Keep a pad and pen in the kitchen – when you’ve got through the last of your favourites such as yoghurt or cheese, scribble it down on the list.
- Buy foods that can be used for several different dishes – this gives you the flexibility to create different meals.
- Look for food with the longest shelf life (use-by date) or foods which can be frozen in case you don’t get round to eating them in time.
- Have a quick rummage through the fridge, freezer and store cupboard once a week; it’ll end those evening runs to the local late night shop for essentials.
Emma Marsh heads up Love Food Hate Waste, which aims to raise awareness of the issue of food waste and offer simple everyday tips and support to help consumers save money and waste less. Emma is also a keen grower of fruit and veg in her garden and allotment at home.