Monday 22 July 2019

'Smart' shopping can reap dividends

Survey by Millstreet students shows how to shop wisely and prevent food wastage

John Tarrant

'Plan wisely, waste less and eat well'. That is the ethos behind a thought-provoking pilot project by Millstreet Tidy Towns centred on a 'Smart Store' cookery initiative aimed at raising awareness about food waste. 

Under the project Millstreet Community School Transition Year students Darragh Cashman, Bevin Murphy, Jenny Collins and Harry Linehan conducted a 'Smart Store' survey at O'Keeffe's SuperValu that addressed waste minimisation, in particular changing habits to become smarter at planning, shopping and cooking.

The findings demonstrate that targeted interventions could reap dividends by reducing food waste as people move towards sustainable eating .

Through in-store promotion, including signage and 'on-the-spot' advice, the project promoted the means for consumers to achieve and benefit from changes to habits, resulting in less waste and, just as importantly, saving themselves time and money.

Millstreet TTA chairman Derry Sheehan spoke about the importance of the concept, highlighting that if people are smarter about how they cook, it will lead to less waste, cheaper food prices at the till and reduce bin collection costs. 

"We must all be more conscious of dealing with our waste, its a culture that must be created. The Tidy Towns marking reflects this and the current project is hugely important," he said 

"At its core is the message of sustainability that will reduce landfill, help encourage waste reduction in the home and help combat illegal dumping", he said.

Millstreet Tidy Town organisers and the Transition Year students say that information initiatives such as this  increased trust in retailers and that in turn enabled consumers to make better food choices. Stephen O'Sullivan, Cork County Council commended Millstreet TTA, business and schools for developing and implementing the awareness strategy.