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How can we stop food waste?

The new episode of the “Sustainable Food” podcast talks about the importance of avoiding food waste and how to learn how to stop it.

Food waste has an environmental, economic and social impact worldwide, a problem of which we must be aware. Next Laura González, responsible for nutrition, health and well-being at Nestlé in Spainlet’s delve deeper into the fundamental pillars to learn how to curb food waste.

How much food do we throw away per year?

The figures on the amount of food that is thrown away are devastating and should force us to become aware, according to the specialist.

Every year one third of the world’s food production suitable for human consumption does not reach any of our tables, it is lost or wasted much earlier, which amounts to 1.3 billion tons of food

In those countries where incomes are higher, the 40% of food losses and waste occur mainly at the last stages of the supply chain, just the opposite of what happens in countries with fewer economic resources.

“And this, in countries like ours, shows that consumer behavior in Spain can drastically reduce this third of wasted food,” he explains.

Pillars to curb food waste

Homes are where most food waste occurs. Thus, the expert points out ten pillars to prevent our organic waste bag from filling up so quickly:

1. Review where and how we store food.

Sorting the food according to the expiry date or the time of purchase, putting those that we need to consume first, will help us to prevent some of them from being left at the bottom of our cupboard or fridge and eventually spoiling.

2. Differentiate between expiry date and best before date

While the expiry date tells us from which date it is not safe to consume this food, the best before date tells us that once this date has passed, the food will remain safe for consumption even though it may have lost some of its the organoleptic qualities expected by the consumer.

3. Sort the drawers

For safety and hygiene reasons, it is advisable to sort the drawers by different food groups, both to avoid contamination due to contact between foods of different categories, and to improve their preservation.

In addition, the specialist points out that pre-cooked food should be stored on the upper shelves.

4. Planning

It is a key piece for eating healthier, reducing costs in the shopping basket and saving time in the preparation of menus.

And if you have leftover ingredients, don’t throw them away, use them in another recipe.

5. The shopping list

Having a sheet in the fridge to be able to write down the foods that are running out and that we don’t forget is a good trick. On the other hand, writing the foods in order according to the aisles will also help us, as we will save time and shop more consciously.

Curb food waste tips
EFE/ Miguel Gutiérrez

6. The batch cooking method

A very effective method to organize ourselves when shopping and cooking is the batch cookingwhich consists of cooking the whole week’s menu in one day.

In this way we save material resources and energy; in addition, it allows us to have more control than we need, so we waste much less.

The nutritionist also adds that it allows you to opt for utilization recipessuch as croquettes, crêtes, aubergine pate, cakes, vegetable creams, samfaina, torrijas, hummus and many more!

7. Directly in the freezer

If we are not going to use any food we can freeze it. Of course, the containers must be suitable, either corks or freezer bags.

In addition, it is important to mark the day of freezing and what this container contains.

8. If you won’t consume it, share it!

If there is food that we will not consume in the end for whatever reasons, a good option is to donate it or share it with friends, family or even social associations.

9. Composting

When it comes to leftover food or food that we can no longer consume, the composting is the solution, an alternative to give this organic waste a second chance.

And although not all foods are good, the specialist points out that you can take advantage of the majority. For example, using them for plants, such as coffee grounds.

10. Finally, if you have any left over, take it with you!

When we eat at a bar or restaurant we may have leftover food, but many times we avoid taking it away out of shame.

The Nestlé nutritionist clarifies that nowadays many establishments are delighted that we take away the leftovers from our menu take awayas they usually have all kinds of sustainable packaging or we can even bring our own reusable packaging from home.

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