A study by Foodwise reports that Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, so for the average Australian household, a staggering $1,036 worth of food is thrown away every year.
Aside from all the environmental effects, I don’t know about you, but I would much rather put that $1,036 into my mortgage or into a family getaway than in the bin!
So how can we reduce our food wastage and make better use of that money?
What are we wasting?
According to the study, Aussies throw out $8 billion worth of edible food every year.
How can we reduce our edible food waste?
Store food correctly
A lot of food waste occurs due to spoilage because many people don't know the proper way to store their fresh fruit and vegetables, which can lead to premature ripening and rotting. Here are some food storage tips:
Do not refrigerate potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and onions. These items should be kept at room temperature.
Separate foods that produce more ethylene gas from that don't. Ethylene promotes ripening in foods and could lead to spoilage. Foods that produce ethylene gas while ripening include: bananas, avocados, tomatoes, rock melons, peaches, pears spring onions. Keep these away from ethylene-sensitive produce like potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries and peppers to avoid premature spoilage.
Treat herbs like flowers - fresh herbs, asparagus, and spring onions can all be stored upright in a tall glass of fresh water. Just trim the stems, cover them with a produce bag over the leaves, and place them in the fridge.
Use good airtight containers for leftovers to keep in the fridge for the next day or the freezer for up to a few months for a backup meal.
Store open packages like flour, rice, coffee etc. in airtight containers to avoid spills and to keep bugs out.
If you do have leftovers, pack them for your lunch the next day or try repurposing them.
Repurposing leftovers doesn't necessarily mean reheating them - repurposing them into new meals can make them feel more exciting.
Let your creativity run wild - think pies, fritters, casseroles and sandwiches. Look for different ways to make it different from the original. If you've hit a creative block, just google leftover food recipes.
Avoid getting takeaway when you have food at home
A long day at work seems like a pretty good excuse to pick up some takeaway at home, despite having had good intentions earlier in the day to cook at home. If this is a pattern you often fall into, food prepping might be good for you.
Once or twice a week you can cook up a range of complete meals and refrigerate or freeze them so they are ready to reheat when you get home. Or you can even just do the bits ahead of time that you usually dread after work, like chopping up a few days worth of veggies so that when you get home from work all you have to do is throw them in the oven or into the work for a stir fry.
A little bit of preparation at the start of the week could save you a lot of food waste and money by the end of the week.
Stick to a shopping list
Grocery shopping without a list is almost certainly going to end in you buying things you don't need. Before you leave the house, take stock of what you have in your fridge and pantry, list the things you need that you regularly consume and even start planning out some of the meals for the week.
If you do this, you will know exactly what you need to buy for those meals before you even leave the house, whereas if you decide while you're at the supermarket based on things that catch your eye, you are likely to buy the supporting ingredients you possibly already have because you can't remember if you have it at home or not.
Eat before doing the grocery shopping
Food shopping on an empty stomach is another sure fire way to over buy - everything is so much more tempting when you're hungry. Do your shopping after a meal or snack so your stomach doesn't make your buying decisions.
If you think food waste is a problem in your household, try some of the above strategies to waste less food and save more money!
If you would like to explore how Asset101 can help you achieve your financial goals faster, give us a call on 08 7081 0811.
* The information contained in this report is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs.
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