How to avoid food waste

Page updated on: 20/12/2018

Smart Shopping

Make a list, it sounds simple but it can help you avoid impulse buys. Planning ahead can help you avoid over spending. Work out how many meals you will need for the week and for how many people. Check ‘use by’ dates when you shop and avoid the ‘buy one get one free’ offers on perishable goods you know you won’t use in time.


Know your date labels, and prioritise your food use accordingly.

  • USE BY means you should never use after the date stated follow any storage instructions and check if it can be frozen.
  • BEST BEFORE this is a guide for quality rather than the safety of the food, the food should still be safe to eat if it has been stored correctly but use your judgement.
  • Never use eggs after the ‘BEST BEFORE’ DATE.
  • DISPLAY UNTIL or SELL BY these are used by shops for stock control.
  • Most fruit and veg will keep better in the fridge stored in bags or boxes. Some veg like carrots and cucumbers can be revived by chilling in water. Remember your fridge should be between 1-5ºC.

Portion Control

Half of our food that’s wasted comes from cooking too much. One of the main culprits is rice and pasta, you don’t need a weighing scale for rice; simply use a mug. A 300ml mug will hold enough uncooked rice for 4 adults, half a mug = 2 portions etc. For child’s portions half the amount or use a tablespoon, 2 ½ spoons of rice = 1 child portion. For one adult portion of spaghetti, hold the bundle of spaghetti together and it should be the width of one penny.

Using Leftovers

Get creative and reinvent your food! If suitable, freeze what you know you can’t eat straight away, or save yourself money on buying lunch at work and use your leftovers instead. It doesn’t just have to be sandwiches, go to for inspiration and much more advice on all the above There are even recipe ideas and portion planning tips for parties.