Jay holding up a gleaned pumpkin

By Jay Godden, Gleaning Coordinator at the Closing Loops project

Eggcup is a charity working in North Lancashire to support people through tough times with a low cost food membership. We intercept surplus food across the region and get it to people in the community instead. Every year the UK wastes over 270 million tonnes of food, and a disproportionate amount of this is over Christmas. In light of labour shortages on farms, the climate crisis, and the number of families having to access food support skyrocketing, let’s all do our bit this winter to save as much food from waste as we can. Here are my top 5 tips!

  1. Use non-traditional foods. The food industry has to produce a huge amount of turkeys, brussel sprouts, and cranberry sauce all for one day in the year, and it’s not possible to meet this huge spike in demand without creating waste. This year, why not try a curry, cottage pie, or something totally new?
  2. Plan ahead. Looking at how many people will be eating together, working out what size of meals you need to make, and how many snacks you will realistically be able to get through can help to reduce the amount of leftovers. Once you’ve decided how much you need, make a list and stick to it – it’s easy to get tempted by special deals or larger bags of veg that look like better value, but usually these deals just mean you’re buying food you don’t actually need.
  3. Shop local. Go to a local greengrocers, organic shop, or get a box delivered straight from a farm. The model of big supermarket chains relies on having a lot of waste. By shopping locally, you’re voting for more sustainable models with your money.
  4. Prepare to preserve. The easiest way to preserve leftovers is by freezing, but if you’re anything like me you have a lot in your freezer already. Start trying to empty it out as soon as you can, making some space ready for boxing day. Look for other ways to preserve leftovers, such as delicious sauerkraut made from spare cabbage – simply google ways to preserve whatever it is you have lots of. This year has been very cold, so you can actually make use of outdoor space to keep stuff chilled and lasting longer if your fridge is full!
  5. Extend it to the rest of the year. Food waste is a problem all year round, and these techniques will help you reduce waste until next winter. A lot of food waste happens in our supply chains, and Eggcup wants to intercept as much food waste as possible, from farms to packers, wholesalers and caterers. If your food business has surplus that you think Eggcup could make use of, contact jay_cl@eggcup.org to find out more about our free redistribution service.

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