As a consumer, are you familiar with the feeling of rather throwing away food than missing out? Especially when expecting guests, people tend to buy too much food. During the Christmas season, tons of food are wasted in consumer households, compared to the rest of the year.
Although retail and hospitality have a significant share in the amount of food that ends up in the bin annually, it is mainly during the holidays that families waste lots of food. Simply by buying smarter, cooking smaller amounts and storing food in a safe manner, you can reduce wastage. Below we share some tips to keep food from being wasted during the holidays, specifically in consumer households.
1. Plan ahead
People are often tempted to buy too much food. Also, once in the supermarket they make several impulse purchases. To prevent that from happening, it is best to prepare a shopping list and make sure you try to stick to it. During the holidays, more and more supermarkets are open for a few hours, so in distress you can always go out and get a few things. Just make sure to check the opening times of your nearest supermarket. If you would rather be safe than sorry, make sure that the additional products you buy are durable. For instance, buy vegetables, fruit or fish in pot or can or pasteurized products.
2. Cooled storage
Don’t put all the food on the table at the same time, but divide it into portions. This way, you can safely store the rest of the food in your refrigerator, so that it has a longer shelf life. Also, putting the items with the shortest shelf life in the front of your fridge prevents you from having to throw away things. If there’s any food left, despite all your efforts, just put it back in the fridge as soon as possible. Leftovers can be kept for about 2-3 days as long as they have the right temperature. Last but not least, you can choose to serve dressings and sauces separately if you want to be able to put the remaining food back into the fridge.
Although you have kept the leavings of the Christmas dinner to a minimum, there is probably still some of it left. Is there any raw meat left, then make sure to cook it as soon as possible after dinner, so it can be stored in the refrigerator a little longer. There are plenty of dishes imaginable in which remaining pieces of meat or fish can be processed. For instance, think of fried rice, a meat or fish stew or a tasty casserole. You can also invite your friends over for a ‘bonus Christmas dinner’. Just have everyone bring their leftovers and have a nice evening.
Source: nauurenmilieu.nl, hetkanwel.nl, unric.org