How to Reduce Avoidable Festive Food Waste
Insight from Unilever highlights that the UK throws away more than 4 million tonnes of perfectly edible food during December (30% of our total annual volume). This includes 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and more than 170 tonnes of sprouts. With food production being one of the leading contributors to climate change, it’s essential that we are more conscious of avoidable waste this Christmas.
Keep your fridge in check
Sustainability experts WRAP report that the average fridge in UK homes runs at 7°C, despite the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommending they remain between 0 and 5°C. This leads to food going off more quickly, costing UK families an average of £70 a month.
Using a fridge thermometer is essential because the fridge dial doesn’t always accurately reflect the temperature. We have a range of fridge freezer thermometers with prices starting at £1.80. This one is particularly great as it has a programmable high/low audible alarm to alert you if the temperature falls out of range.
*Top tip: don’t overfill your fridge or the air won’t be able to circulate and maintain a constant temperature.
A study of consumer refrigerated food practices by WRAP showed that most people don’t check the contents of their fridge before a major food shop. Careful planning and shopping sensibly is the best way to ensure you’re not burdened with an excessive amount of leftovers that won’t fit in your freezer. Plan ahead, buy only what you need and check the dates to ensure you can eat things before they expire.
Cook to temperature
Using a kitchen thermometer to cook your meats to perfection will lessen the likelihood of discarded meat. Not only will it ease any self-doubt to know that the food you’re feeding to a large table of people is safely cooked to the correct temperature, it will also prevent any over-cooking and equally grumbly guests. Take three seconds to check your temperatures with our Thermapen Professional, or if you’d prefer to be alerted when your food is cooked why not try our DOT digital oven thermometer. Don’t forget to check your temperatures when you reheat your leftovers too – they need to reach 75°C.
Store at safe temperatures
Don’t leave your food to sit at room temperature for too long. The FDA recommends that all perishables left out for more than two hours be discarded. Bacteria grow most rapidly between 5 and 63°C, doubling in amount every 20 minutes, so keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
Decrease the damage by composting
It’s hard to avoid food waste at Christmas completely. When food is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the waste and this produces the harmful greenhouse gas methane. Why not try composting to put your waste to better use? Composting usually takes six to 12 months, but hot composting can take around four weeks. Learn more with our guide to hot composting.
Read more about reducing waste.
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