independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

A waste plan and savvy shopping can save you up to €1,000 on your food bill

Households are throwing away hundreds of euro a year by wasting food, writes Aideen Sheehan

If you want to save on your household bills then stop throwing away money on food. Irish families throw away a million tonnes of food a year – and the needless waste costs households between €700 and €1,000, according to the Environ-mental Protection Agency.

Smart Consumer looked at some of the top tips for saving money and food.

Measure your portions

People often chuck in far more food than they need when they're cooking – which leads to over-consumption and waste. For meat allow 115g per person and for fish allow 170g. For rice and pasta, of which we tend to cook far too much, allow 50-75g per person.

Have a fridge night once a week

Make a conscious effort to use up leftovers and little bits and pieces from the fridge at least once a week – and explore the back of your store cupboard to find forgotten tins of beans or fish that will bulk things out.

Freeze

Bread is one of the most frequently chucked items, yet it's also common to find you've none left for the kids' lunchtimes sandwiches.

Freezing bread in two-slice quantities allows you to always have bread on hand as it thaws quickly.

Make soup

Making a big vat of soup once a week is the best way to use up those vegetables lurking at the bottom of your fridge.

It also makes the perfect healthy lunch at work – saving you loads of money over buying sandwiches, and contributing to your five a day.

Make a plan

Having a plan for the week's meals is a great help as it stops you loading up the basket with things you won't get a chance to eat.

Check your cupboards so you know what you have already and make a list on your phone so you can find it in the store.

Ditch the kids

Children are the enemy of efficient shopping, distracting you from smart choices and pestering you for sugary treats.

Check the date

Be careful about use-by dates, particularly when there's a discounted price, which often only applies when it's near its expiry date.

It's always worth having a root at the back of supermarket shelves to see if there's fresher produce there.

Beware special offers

Be particularly careful about two-for-one offers or big price discounts that seem too good to miss – they're a false economy if you end up chucking them out.

Also beware bundled offers such as pizza with a tub of coleslaw – it's only a bargain if you would have been buying the second thing anyway.

With fruit and veg, it's often worth buying nice ones loose rather than multipacks of less tasty varieties.

Track what you waste

Government agency Safefood has a campaign to help consumers stop wasting food at www.safefood.eu.

As well as tips for cutting waste, you can download a food waste diary to track what you chuck out.

Irish Independent

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