It's the subject of a major food conference this week in London, called No Opportunity Wasted, which aims to reduce food waste from "field to fork". Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s changed its labelling advice that foods must be frozen on the day of purchase.
Tesco has also trialled new packaging designed to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer, with M&S already using it for its strawberries. The likes of Pret A Manger, Sainsbury's and Waitrose have also made firm commitments to distributing surplus food to local charities.
And the confusing 'display until' and 'sell by' dates on packaging, designed to help shop staff with stock reduction, are gradually being phased out, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap).
While retailers are making changes, the majority of food waste comes from us and our behaviour needs to change too.
Simple steps such as planning out a week's meals in advance can save waste, and save money too.


The Wrap consumer site Love Food Hate Waste has some great tips, such as keeping apples in the fridge so they last a bit longer. Rachel Green’s kedgeree is a dish that can take leftover fish, rice from the cupboard and a few frozen peas to produce a tasty supper. According to WRAP we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year. IGD has launched a new initiative to bring organisations together to help consumers reduce food waste. The campaign has been designed so that all organisations can take part however big or small, and there is flexibility about the activities you choose to run to suit your target audience. IGD have launched a toolkit to help you design and implement your October food waste activities. There are many ways you can get involved, this could include awareness activities and training with your staff, activities run with students, working with your accommodation office to provide information to self-catered students or working with your food service providers on site.


There’s also the energy costs used in storing it, and costs incurred by your local authority in removing it, which you pay for in council tax. Recommendations from the conference will be presented to the European Union, which has earmarked 2014 as a year of food waste action. Instead packaging now advises us to freeze items as soon as possible up to the product's 'use by' date. There must surely come a tipping point when we start to think, "Hang on, that cost me an hour’s wages" and start to plan our meals a bit better.



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