5 tips to reduce food waste

Did you know that a third of the food produced in the world goes into the garbage?

Annually, that represents 1.6 billion tons! It’s like going to the grocery store, coming back with 3 bags of food and throwing one in the trash! It is difficult to accept that in Canada, 40% of the food produced is wasted and thrown away, without being consumed, while more than 805 million people, or 1 in 9 people in the world, suffer from hunger [ 1].

Unfortunately, the society we live in sometimes pushes us to buy more food than we really need. So it often happens that the products in our refrigerator perish, without anyone having tasted them. How to prevent this situation, food waste, this scourge of the 21st century?

1.Plan meals and snacks

Before shopping for groceries:

  • Inspect the pantry and the fridge.
  • Identify what you have left and avoid buying it back.
  • Plan meals and snacks for the week.
  • Write a grocery list with all the ingredients you need for your planned meals.

By following this method, you will only buy the quantities necessary to meet the needs of the week. In addition, it will save you a lot of time: once the planning is done, you don’t have to worry about the evening arriving from work to determine what will be dinner!

2. Prepare fruits and vegetables upon purchase

Cut and ready-to-eat raw vegetables will always be more inviting to eat than at the bottom of a vegetable drawer.

3. See beyond the expiration date

Wait before throwing away all your little jars of “expired” yogurt! It is not because it is the day after the expiry date that yogurt suddenly becomes dangerous to your health. Indeed, the expiry date is only an indication of freshness, not of wholesomeness. This assures consumers that the product is fresh and has maintained its original taste, texture and nutritional value [2]. Once the jar is opened, this date is no longer valid. To find out more about food storage times, consult the Thermoguide developed by MAPAQ.

4. Store food well

If your food tends to perish too quickly in the refrigerator, the thermostat may be out of order. Make sure the refrigerator is set between 0 and 4 degrees. At this temperature, the multiplication of microorganisms causing food degradation is slowed down. As for the freezer, its set point must be maintained at -18 degrees in order to completely stop the multiplication of these microorganisms. [3] Don’t hesitate to refrigerate homemade breads, cakes and muffins to prolong their shelf life. Finally, if you are the type who cooks in large quantities, freeze the leftovers in reusable dishes so that nothing is lost.

5. Reinvent recipes!

Too often we are inclined to follow recipes religiously, which prompts us to always buy new ingredients. Note that it is often possible to replace one ingredient in a recipe, especially the fruits or vegetables it contains, with another. Cope with what you have in the fridge rather than running to the grocery store to buy what you need! Towards the end of the week, rather than running out to buy a fast food meal or prepared meals at the grocery store, dare to mix things up with whatever ingredients you have left, and especially those that are close to perishing.



[1] FAO, Pertes et gaspillages alimentaires : quelques chiffres clés, //www.fao.org/news/story/fr/item/196443/icode/ [consulté le 16/06/2016].

[2] Lavallée, Bernard (2015). Sauver la planète une bouchée à la fois, Montréal : Les éditions La Presse, 226 pages.

[3] MAPAQ, Entreposage des aliments, //www.mapaq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/Consommation/guideconsommateur/entreposage/Pages/entreposage.aspx [consulté le 16/06/2016].

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