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Become a Zero-Waste Chef – Say No to Food Waste

by Praveen Kumar

The mere mention of food waste is enough to make most of us feel guilty. There’s good reason for it – did you know that food wastage is a global issue and U.S wastes 40% of its food every year while the food waste in India, China, and Asia put together accounts for 1.3 billion tonnes per year! The amount of annual global food waste produced is more than sufficient to feed nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world. Shocking, but true.

Say No to Food Waste

Why do we waste food?

There could be multiple reasons of food wastage, some of which include:

  • Expired shelf life – The length of time that a commodity can be stored has passed or expired and is now unfit for usage and consumption.
  • Scraps and leftovers– Food that’s unused or unconsumed. Could be due to excess food prepared or served in one’s plate.
  • Partially used produces– Partially used or consumed vegetables/food items that end up at the back of the fridge having a chance of survival but owing to poor kitchen management, ended up not being used at a proper time.
  • Not meeting expectations – Some foods and overtly innovative recipes may not meet our expectations and end up getting wasted and right into the bin.
  • Change of mind– A fairly common situation in most households with young children, but when managed quickly and intelligently the food can be consumed in the near future.

The perils of food wastage

  • Money wasted – Discarding and throwing food is equivalent to discarding and throwing away hard earned money.
  • Increasing carbon footprint – Once in landfills (dumping grounds), the food particles start to breakdown, producing methane (a strong, powerful and the unhealthiest of the greenhouse gases), known for its high global warming potential – which is 21 times that of carbon dioxide).
  • Wastage of precious resources – In a world full of starvation, malnutrition, famine and social unrest, every particle of food is more precious than you think!

‘YOU’ can become a ZERO-WASTE CHEF with a ZERO-WASTE KITCHEN!

Simple planning, discipline, prepping, and stowing food can help you curb wastage to a great extent. Check out these handy tips to to minimize food wastage and save money too:

  • Shop smart and be realistic– A simple yet one of the most important things you can do:
    • Make a detailed shopping list by planning out your meals. List down all the ingredients you would require, and make sure you stick to that list.
    • Try purchasing local produces which are easily available in your local market. Eat local, stay healthy.
    • Avoid going grocery shopping out of boredom or when you are hungry, as you tend to buy more stuff than what you actually need.
  • Follow the FIFO (First In, First Out) Principle
    • The FIFO (First In, First Out) principle is a great way to remember to consume perishable produces in the order they have been purchased.
    • When storing groceries, especially those that go into the refrigerator, move the older products to the front and store the newly purchased items at the back, because kitchen is a place where ‘Out of sight is out of mind’. This way you will end up using the older food items before they go bad.
  • Freezing point
    • Freeze the excess food, in case you end up making large quantities. Place a note on the freezer door for easy reference, mentioning what’s in the freezer and when it was placed there.
  • Prepare your weekly grocery list
    • Start by examining your freezer, fridge, kitchen cabinets, etc. for items to be replenished and refilled.
    • Rather than make monthly grocery lists, try doing the process weekly. Shorter lists tend to be more precise.
  • Follow a ZERO wastage plan
    • Stay tuned to the latest trends in the food domain. You could try using new innovative services such as meal delivery kits that help you make delectable restaurant style gourmet meals at home by shipping all the required exotic ingredients in pre-measured quantities with step-by-step recipe instructions. A perfect ZERO wastage plan.
  • Don’t over-serve food
    • While you’re cooking meals, don’t over-serve food to friends and family. Let your guests serve for themselves. This way you can avoid leftovers.
    • Using smaller plates can also serve the purpose.
  • Create a waste log
    • Writing and managing a food waste log will make you aware of what is being wasted and thrown away. Thus making you conscious about eating that item sooner or using the same in other recipes, etc.
    • A food waste log can turn out to be a truly great way to remind yourself how expensive food waste actually is.
  • Be kind and feed the hungry
    • If you have leftovers and table or kitchen scraps that will be thrown away, consider feeding them to hungry animals or better still to poor families and kids.
    • Feeding the hungry is definitely a much better and kinder alternative than dumping your food into the waste bin.

Not so tough eh! These easy and practical tips will help you minimize and reduce food wastage at home and in time turn you into a ZERO-WASTE CHEF!

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