Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Saving Money by Reducing Food Waste


Wasting food is money wasted. Follow these simple, environmentally-friendly tips to help reduce food waste and save money

  • Shop smart.
    • While buying in bulk is convenient, it is more likely to lead to food waste. Frequent trips to the grocery store every few days, rather than one bulk shopping trip, can help to avoid buying more food than you need. 
    • Make a shopping list and stick to it. This will help you to buy only what you need. 
  • Store produce correctly. 
    • Store perishable fresh produce in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is that if produce is refrigerated at the grocery store, it should be refrigerated at home. Some produce items, such as potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and onions, should be kept at room temperature. Set the temperature of your refrigerator to 40°F or below. Any warmer and you risk growing harmful food bacteria. 
    • Some fruits produce a large amount of ethylene gas during ripening, which can ripen other produce when stored together. Foods that produce ethylene gas while ripening include bananas, avocados, tomatoes, cantaloupes, apples, peaches, and pears. Keep these foods away from other produce to avoid premature ripening. 
    • Prioritize your produce by knowing its shelf life. Plan to use produce that will spoil quickly, such as berries and leafy greens, within a few days of purchase. Save produce with a longer shelf life, such as apples and carrots, to eat later in the week. Eating foods with a short shelf life first can be beneficial in reducing food waste.
  • Stay organized.
    • Before every grocery trip, move older foods from the back of the refrigerator or cupboard forward. This way, you’ll see what’s in there and avoid buying duplicates.
    • When stocking your refrigerator or cupboard after a grocery trip, keep “first in, first out” in mind. Place newer items behind old ones. This helps ensure that older food gets used and not wasted.
    • Place similar items together and put larger containers behind smaller ones. This will help you to avoid missing things and have them go to waste.
  • Be smart with leftover food.
    • Forgotten leftovers are a common food waste culprit. Storing leftovers in clear glass containers can help to ensure the food is not forgotten. If you have a container that is not see-through, label the contents so that you are reminded of what is left in the refrigerator.
    • Designate one night each week to eat up any leftovers that have accumulated in the refrigerator. 
    • Use your freezer. If you have fruit that is nearing the end of its shelf life, freeze it to use for smoothies. Vegetables can be frozen and used later in soups. 
  • Serve smaller portion sizes.
    • Avoid scraping the leftover food on your plate into the trash by serving smaller portion sizes. This tip is especially relevant with kids, as they can be such inconsistent eaters. Serve smaller portion sizes – and serve seconds (or thirds) as needed.
  • Pack your lunch.
    • Going out to lunch is not only costly, but large portion sizes at restaurants significantly contributes to food waste. If you tend to generate leftovers from dinner meals, pack them up for lunch – another way to be smart with leftovers. If you are often pressed for time in the morning, try freezing lunch meals in portion-sized containers at the beginning of the week so that your lunch is pre-made and ready-to-go lunch in the morning.


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Monday, 24 January 2022

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