A few weeks ago an interesting email popped up in my inbox from Norfolk & Suffolk County Councils about their #FoodSavvy campaign. They have joined forces to campaign about the growing issue of food waste, and to promote ways to reduce the amount that ends up on landfill each year. Their goal is to reduce food waste across the two counties by 20% by 2025 and, in turn, save taxpayers £12.6 million annually.
In Norfolk and Suffolk alone we waste in excess of 113,000 tonnes of food per year. That’s a massive figure, isn’t it? Now, I don’t know about you but sometimes I see these massive figures and my tiny brain just cannot comprehend it. So let’s break it down into a figure that we might find easier to process. Let’s break it down into cold, hard cash.
Those 113,000 tonnes, when broken down into individual households, equals £810 per year (or £70 per month) that goes straight into the bin.
It’s a sobering amount, isn’t it? When I look at that figure I think that £70 could feed my family for almost two weeks. It could put petrol in my car for the month. Or, it could go towards the monthly fees for the swimming lessons we want the children to have. Or help pay for a holiday.
Food Waste and Me
In the Four years that I’ve been writing this blog, I have, quite often, covered the topic of meal planning and reducing food waste.
In a previous life (life before children that is) I had a career in the food manufacturing industry, specifically in the leafy salads and root vegetables industry (oh, the glamour!). I worked in New Product Development, Quality Assurance and Technical Innovations and spent a whole lot of time calculating waste ratios and trying to come up with new methods to make the product last longer in your fridge.
Since then I have always tried to reduce the amount of food waste we produce at home. Meal planning, in particular, is an important part of how I try to minimise edible food waste. Recently however I have found myself throwing away spoiled food more often than I would like.
There have been weeks where my meal plan has, for whatever reason, been thrown out of the window within a couple of days and we have ended up cooking something entirely different to what was planned.
Or, what we planned to eat on Monday got pushed back to Thursday (because that thing called life happened) and by that time the fresh veg I bought at the start of the week had started to spoil somewhat.
Getting #FoodSavvy – The Challenge
So, back to the #FoodSavvy email from Norfolk & Suffolk County Councils. The email was inviting me to take part in a challenge along with 6 other bloggers & influencers across the two counties. The challenge is to see how successfully we can manage to reduce our edible food waste across the coming month.
I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, especially one that should not only save money but is also beneficial for the environment too. I am hoping the challenge will also give me the kick up the bum I need to get my meal planning and food prep back into order.
And if it makes me more adventurous with the ingredients in the cupboard and fridge, then even better, as I have definitely been in a bit of a recipe rut recently.
The #FoodSavvy challenge starts today (February 1st). The first week is one of monitoring to ascertain a baseline. So, any food waste we produce each day will be measured and logged.
From week two onwards everyone taking part in the challenge will start trialling various food saving products (we are each being given different products from brands such as Scoby, Lakeland, Ikea and Foodsaver). I have been sent a vacuum sealing system from Foodsaver to try out (which absolutely appeals to Tech Innovations Catherine from 14 years ago who would geek out trialling new ways to hermetically seal a bag of lettuce).
Across the course of the month, there will be some fun mini-challenges to join in with, and then at the end of February, we collate our results to see if we have successfully managed to reduce our food waste.
I will be regularly reporting back on how the challenge is going here on the blog and also over on my social channels too, especially on Instagram Stories. So why not check back soon to see how we are getting on!