Did you know that the average household wastes about one pound of food per day? That’s costing people $3.50 each and every day. It might not sound like much, but it adds up. Over the course of a year, that amounts to $1300 being unnecessarily thrown away. That’s more than one-quarter of the average consumer’s food budget squandered from easily preventable food spoilage.
If you’re looking to save money, reducing your food waste can have the highest impact when it comes to home savings. A recent study has shown that most of us are spending more on food waste annually than we are on gas for our cars, heating and electricity bills, property taxes or insurance.
So how do you get the best bang for your buck? Here are a few ways to avoid food waste and keep that hard-earned cash in your pocket.
Storing your food properly is one of the easiest ways to avoid food spoilage and extend the life of your food by weeks. To better understand how to store your food, let’s first talk about what makes it go bad in the first place.
Factors that contribute to food spoilage include light, oxygen, heat, humidity, temperature and bacteria. Microorganisms occur everywhere and when food is placed in unsuitable conditions, this fosters microbial spoilage - aka bacteria, yeast or mold.
The type of food you are storing will depend on the best method. Leftovers, for example, will do well in an airtight container in the fridge. Fresh fruits and vegetables on the other hand, will last longer in a reusable beeswax food wrap. This is because the antimicrobial and breathable properties of the beeswax wrap not only allow your food to breathe but also allow the off-gases from produce to escape, acting as a second skin.
Alternatively, freezing food such as pasta sauce in ice cube trays will help you preserve food for longer and properly portion for later.
Another great way to ensure your food doesn’t go to waste is buying the correct portions of fresh ingredients for planned recipes and meals. Perhaps this means smaller, more frequent trips to the market for your fresh goods, or ensuring you can properly store the excess until it can be eaten.
Meal planning will help you to ensure you have the ingredients and portions you need throughout the week without excess that could spoil before you find a use for it.
If meal planning doesn’t fit into your busy schedule, ordering from a meal kit delivery service like Fresh Prep can help you ensure you’re prepared. Their zero-waste kits and perfect portions will help you avoid unnecessary waste. If you want to try them out, use our code BDGOLDILOCKS or sign up through this link to try your first 3 meals for *free ($36.75 value!)
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It can be tempting to opt to eat something more enticing (like takeout) when you have leftovers in your fridge, but making it a priority to work through your leftovers first and rewarding yourself with takeout or dining out later, will help you save money and ensure your food doesn’t go off before you get a chance to eat it.
Utilize Every Part
When prepping food, we know there are a lot of parts fruits and veggies that are deemed undesirable and get tossed in the compost or trash. However, cooking with food scraps and utilizing them to make flavourful broths and unique recipes is a fun and creative way to curb your food waste. Check out Ikea’s waste-less cookbook here for inspiration.
If you grew an abundance of cucumbers in your veggie garden or found a wonderful deal on seasonal fruit at a local market and you know there’s no possible way you can make your way through all of it before spoilage, preserve them! Pickling, making jams and preserves is a great way to extend the shelf life of food and ensure you have delicious flavours year-round.
If you find yourself with too much produce or a dish you made, why not share it with neighbours, friends or family!
Should food spoil before usage, don’t beat yourself up. As long as it stays out of the landfill, it can properly decompose and become nutrient-rich soil.
Here are some more helpful resources to help you reduce your food waste: