With Christmas not far away I thought I would combine a previous post with some additional thoughts for the season. Christmas is a time of celebration, of getting together with family and friends and enjoying each others company. but it is also a time of abundance and waste. We all want togive the best parties and dinners, and this often leads to far too much food going to waste.
"Don't waste your food", Do you remember hearing these words from your Mum and Dad? I even remember my grandparents repeating them a lot to me. For many of us adults we have heard these words, but yet every year Australians waste about $8 - 10 billion worth of food. A lot of this is edible food. What I find amazing is that it starts on the farm, where vegetables and fruit are thrown away because they are ugly. Not because they have gone off or have an infestation of insects, but because we don’t like the look of them.
I know stats can be boring, but when you have a read of these few lines you will wonder have we gone mad:
20 and 40 per cent of fruit and vegetables grown are rejected before they reach the shops because they don't meet supermarkets' standards and specifications.
Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase
This equates to 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries they buy
Up to 40% of the average household garbage bin is food
For the average Australian household $1,036 of food is thrown away each year
I came across this wonderful article about Intermarché, French supermarket chain that launched a campaign called Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables. They wanted to put an end to food waste and demonstrate that unattractive fruit and veg can be edible. The Inglorious food campaign celebrates the ugly fruit and veg that is often thrown away by farmers. Although, Woolies have 'The Odd Bunch' and Harris Farm Markets have 'Imperfect picks', very little promotion has gone into these options. Also, they tend to be placed at the end of the vegetable aisles/layout with very little prominence, which means people have already filled their baskets by the time they get to these sections. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that often these vegetables and fruit are cheaper.
Also, you realise how bad our food wastage is when charities such as Foodbank, SecondBite, OzHarvest and FareShare can collect thousands of tonnes of food each year from supermarkets and food shops, which is then redistributed to food programs, homeless shelters and soup vans. Great for the charities and the good work they are doing, but it makes you think why are we throwing good food away.
I think we need to rethink our thoughts on ugly food. Our supermarkets need to take a few tips from Intermarché. And as consumers, we need to see the beauty in the odd and different shapes that nature can provide us with.
When it comes to food preparation, especially around the party season, we have made it a habit to have lots of food and only the best. Without realising it, we are adding to the waste. Some of us feel, we are not giving the best to our guests unless we put on a large spread, only to throw out half of the food afterwards. In creating some meals, we only use part of a certain food stuffs, as we want to have the perfect starter, dinner or dessert. Also, we ignore certain foods because they are not good enough for the day, only to let them waste in the pantry or fridge.
One way to avoid such waste, is to plan your party or dinner. Yes, you will want to make sure you have enough food for everyone, but really think about the number of guests and the food required. Then consider about what you can do with the leftovers. Can you freeze some items, create another meal or have them for lunches? You can become very creative with leftovers. Also, apart from food, don’t throw away any unused party decorations, unused cards and supplies. Many can be used at your next party or event.
Hope these tips will help you plan a successful party without waste.
Attracta & The earthly passion team
Thanks to the following sites for statistics and references: