Sainsbury's Changes Freezing Advice Labels In Bid To Reduce Food Waste
Long-standing ‘freeze on the day of purchase’ food guidelines are being changed by Sainsbury’s as they relax their rules in a bid to reduce food wastage.
The leading supermarket is doing its bit to help slash alarming food wastage numbers after they discovered that 800,000 tonnes of perfectly good food could be saved if a new food labelling system was brought into place.
The new initiative, in conjunction with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), will involve changing food labels advising consumers to freeze food at any point prior to the use-by date, rather than immediately after purchase.
The move comes after research by WRAP revealed that 60% of people believe the current reinforced labeling ‘rule’ that food has to be frozen on the day they buy it.
However, only 21% had frozen food that was nearing its use-by date and many admitting that they throw food away when it approaches the use-by date because they weren’t aware whether it was safe to freeze it.
"The 'freeze on day of purchase' advice needs to be changed as there is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use by date," Beth Hart, Sainsbury’s head of product, said in a statement.
"As a large UK retailer, we have a responsibility to minimise food waste where possible and this new labelling will certainly help us do that.
"As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, 'how does the product know which day I purchased it on?'"
Food experts are hoping that this initiative could save up to £2bn worth of good food every year.
According to figures compiled by WRAP, UK households dispose of around 4.9 million tonnes of packaging and 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink waste every year.
The charity claims that if people stopped wasting all this food and drink, it would save the equivalent of at least 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of taking one in five cars off the road.
Andrew Parry from WRAP said in a statement: "Changing the guidance to freeze before the use by date is a welcome move. Now we can all look in our fridges and know that we can freeze most items, which are about to go out of date and enjoy them at a later time.
"In doing so we can expect to reduce the amount of out of date food we throw away, which will in turn save us all money.”
The new move from Sainsbury's has the backing of other food wastage awareness charities, such as FareShare.
A spokesperson from FareShare, told The Huffington Post: "FareShare works with the food industry to redirect good food that would otherwise go to waste to people who need it.
"We also support any initiative that can help reduce the amount of food being wasted every day by households and the food industry.
"If households and the food industry can work together to ensure that good food isn’t going to waste, then surely that is a good thing."
How To Avoid Food Waste
When discarded food is thrown into the land fill, food decomposes and releases methane gas which contributes to global warming. To avoid piling on the damage with your wasted food, take a look how you can recur food waste, save money and help protect the planet.
Write A Weekly Plan
Plan your meals for the week and check the ingredients to ensure you have all you need. Avoid going food shopping on an empty stomach as it will tempt you to buy too much than you need, especially fresh produce that often gets wasted. Buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of multipacks, as that way, you only buy what you need. Try and steer clear of the 'buy one, get one free' offers unless you know the food will get eaten.
Rotate Your Fridge
When you buy new food, bring older food items in your cupboard and fridge to the front so you don't forget they are there. Put the new food nearer the back as they'll have a longer expiry date. Prioritise what is already in in your cupboards.
If you have a lot of food left over from the night before, simply store it in a plastic freezable container and pop it in the freezer. This is perfect for batch freezing and great for digging out on occasions where you are tight for time.
Instead of throwing away leftovers that didn't make it, use them in tomorrow's dinner. For example, if you made a dish of mashed potato with lots left over, mould them into patty shapes and make your own hash browns the next morning. Or better still, use your discarded vegetables to make a healthy 'bubble and squeak'. This applies to all vegetables, salads and things like leftover meat (who you can eat cold the next day for lunch). If your apples have gone soft and your vegetables are starting to wilt, instead of throwing them in the bin, make fruit smoothies and delicious home made soups. Re-use the trimmed ends of vegetables like carrots, celery and peppers by boiling them and making your own vegetable broth. Dry a batch of tomatoes before they go off by placing them in the oven and then store them in olive oil for your own tasty dried tomatoes. Just because fruit and vegetables have lost their original shape and vibrancy, doesn't mean they're destined for the dustbin.
Although some food wastage is unavoidable, why not create a compost bin for your fruit and vegetable peelings? These can be obtained through your local council and are cheap to buy. In a few months, you'll end up with a rich compost for plants to grow in.