Food waste is one of the scandals of the modern age. Tristram Stuart highlighted this problem in extraordinary detail in his book entitled ‘Waste: Uncovering the global food scandal’. He practiced freeganism for many years, to prove a point that it was possible to eat extremely well by rescuing discarded food from the bins behind the supermarkets and gourmet food stores. I truly wish I had the guts to go through the bins behind the supermarkets in my area, but I just don’t. So I do the next best thing and trawl the cold food section of my supermarket every week looking for items that have almost reached their ‘use by’ or ‘best by’ date, are heavily discounted, and will be thrown out if not purchased. Here’s the food I rescued from the last 2 weeks’ grocery shop:
70% off the yoghurt and lasagne was something to get excited about. It’s not possible to make 1 kg of yoghurt for $1.80 as the mix I buy to make it up in one of those yoghurt makers is over $4. I bought multiples of each of these items, as well as the double brie and additive free vegetarian soup. It was great to get over $7 off 500g of prawns. I used them that night in a pasta dish, stirring through coriander pesto and a few veges from my small winter crop. The smoked salmon was a bit of a splurge and will make up beautiful salmon and zucchini patties. Noodles of course are a great stand-by item for a quick and easy meal with some veges thrown in.
I think the trick is to learn not to fear ‘use by’ or ‘best by’ dates. Surely noone could believe that at the stroke of midnight the food will suddenly be off. The mulitples of double brie that I bought for 50% off should carry a ‘better after’ date, not a ‘use by’ one! They just kept improving with age and I used the last one 10 days after it had technically ‘expired’.
It’s just a small thing to do, but small things add up. Collectively we could dramatically reduce what is thrown out by supermarkets by going on a food rescue mission every time we shop. Do you rescue food when you shop? Could you commit to making this a regular part of your shopping habits? I’d love to hear how you get on.