Sunday 23 July 2017

Smart Consumer: 'Keep things fresh by getting to know your local shopkeepers'

Úna Clarke, from Cork, is a trained tutor who gives courses on healthy eating that includes tips and suggestions about reducing food waste.

"I really want to place healthy eating in the context of budgeting and reducing food waste," she says. "It doesn't necessarily mean higher costs, as it can actually save you money, but it does need planning and some basic information."

One of the first messages of the course is to buy local where possible, such as your nearest butcher. "Talk to them, ask questions, get to know them and let them get to know you," says Úna.

"Questions like how long will this keep in the fridge, how best to store it, how to cook it, is there something else cheaper, better value, or in season? This goes for the fishmonger also and the greengrocer."

As part of her course, which is titled Kitchen Economics, Úna takes her students to the English Market in Cork city to talk to a number of the traders there.

"The English Market is always an enjoyable experience, and their passion and enthusiasm for food is catching," she says.

Úna's students report that they are now not buying as much, using less tinned food and jars, and using up most of the fresh food they buy.

"Even if your spend on groceries does not change immediately, if you are not throwing out food, that means that you are getting more from what you buy."

Irish Independent

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