For Canadians, about 51% of food gets wasted (thrown in the garbage) and Americans waste about 40%, and worldwide we waste about 1/3 of our food collectively.
As Canadians, we toss about $27 billion worth of of edible food into the garbage each year.
Reasons why consumers waste food:
- Confusion about food safety: sell-by, best-by dates
- Buying in bulk and not being able to finish it (massive buckets of peanut butter for instance)
- Restaurants expected to serve huge portion sizes but consumers don’t eat it all or take it home
- We buy once a week rather than small batches during the week, and food gets thrown out
- Don’t anticipate eating out, so the food stays uneaten in the fridge
Sickening, isn’t it?
I can tell you that my sister-in-law does this (even she admits it).
She goes out on a HUGE shopping spree of $200 each time, buys a ton of food, but has no idea how to cook it in meals, and/or just orders takeaway because she doesn’t want to cook each night (understandable).
She buys something specific for a meal, and is not being able to finish it because all she needed was a bit. Then it all goes in the garbage.
Also, thank goodness for pop companies making HALF-sized cans now, because she used to crack open a can, drink half, and later, throw the other half away because the bubbles had disappeared.
How to avoid wasting food:
- Meal plan — think about what you want to make, and buy enough for those meals
- Double-up on ingredients — only need half of a special ingredient? Find another recipe to use it in
- Cook once for the week — Do all the vegetable washing and prepping on Sundays
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry — It’s too easy to over purchase if you’re hungry as well
I do most of this. I buy what I think I’ll need for the week. One steak is enough for 4 meals for me, with some rice and vegetables, and I also take stock of whether I have a dinner/lunch out or not.
When I work, I cook on Sundays for all my lunches and dinners during the week.