Fresh fruit and vegetable waste; would you throw a whole weeks shopping in the bin_ (2)

A third of the world’s food supply is wasted; we are chopping down forests to grow more food, and a billion people are still going hungry. That doesn’t seem right, does it?

In Scotland alone, 2 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetable are lost or wasted in the supply chain; add to this the 380,000 tonnes discarded by households and this costs the Scottish public over £4 billion every year.

You may be throwing the equivalent of a week’s shopping away already without realising it.

Supply chain

In the supply chain there are several elements that go towards fresh fruit and vegetable damage, and ultimately spoilage:

  • Harvesting
  • Handling
  • Cleaning
  • Transportation
  • Storage

When fruit and vegetables are damaged, the site of the damage is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Traditionally fruit and vegetables have been cleaned with Chlorine to rid the produce of bacteria.  Producers and governments are realising the damaging potential of Chlorine and are looking for alternatives, or in some cases, choosing to use nothing at all.

Related content: Fruit and Vegetable Preservation - is there an alternative to Chlorine?

What can we do?

The majority of us are powerless when it comes to what goes on in the supply chain, but there are things you can implement at home to reduce the amount of food wastage:

Before you shop - Look in your kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer before each shopping trip. You can reduce waste by knowing what you already have to use up.

Make your shopping list - Make a shopping list, take it to the shops and stick to it. A list will help you to avoid impulse buying or stocking up on more food than you’ll use

Fridge and freezer - See what’s in your fridge and freezer that needs to be used up before you head to the shops. Label and date the homemade food and leftovers you freeze to enjoy it at its best.

Look in your cupboards - Find out what’s hiding in your cupboards before you shop so you don’t duplicate what you already have.

Meal planning - Write a meal plan for the week so you buy only what you need. Looking ahead can help you make the most of leftovers and save you time and money.

Freezer week – Have a good look in your freezer, pull stuff out and defrost.   Aim to use what you already have without buying additional food for a week – it could result in some interesting concoctions!

If the thought of wasting food, and effectively hard earned cash, is not enough to make you sit up and take notice;

Think about these facts:

Fresh fruit – We throw away £70 million-worth of fresh fruit every year. That’s equivalent to an apple a day for every schoolchild and teacher in Scotland for 18 months.

An apple a day

Fresh vegetables – We waste 62,000 tonnes of vegetables every year.  That’s an average of 26kg a year for every household in Scotland - the equivalent of a whole weekly shop.

Drink - Scottish households throw away an estimated 70 million litres of drinks every year.  That would fill 175,000 bathtubs, right to the brim.

Meat and fish – Scotland’s households throw away £130 million-worth of meat and fish waste every year. It’s enough to make every person in Scotland a bacon butty every Saturday for the next year!

Bakery – Every day in Scotland we throw away the equivalent of 2.6 million slices of bread.

Dairy – Every year, Scotland’s households throw away £93 million-worth of dairy waste. That's enough for everyone in Scotland to have milk on their cereal for the next six months.

Why should you care?

Here are 3 reasons as to why you should try and avoid unwanted food waste:

  1. To save money - on average it costs £470 per household with the food wasted each year
  2. To help the environment - The food thrown away rots in landfill and creates harmful greenhouse gases
  3. Save the water, time and energy that went into farming the food (that is actually 3 reasons in itself!)

Do you have any tips on how we can all reduce food waste? Leave a comment below.....


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