According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign we waste, on average, a third of the food we buy each week. However, during Christmas, WRAP claim that this increases by a massive 80%. I want you to stop and think about that for a moment. You only have to set foot into a supermarket pre Christmas to see people queuing down the aisles with trolleys laden with food. Many of us buy food as if we are feeding the five thousand, going to be snowed in for a week and the shops will be empty for a month.
But now WRAP tell us that 80% of this food will be wasted!
This represents a staggering 230,000 tonnes of festive food worth approximately £275 million that gets thrown away across the country during Christmas and the New Year. Mr Green claims he isn’t surprised by that statistic, but I am shocked and horrified.
We planned our menu carefully here at Chez Green, and as there were only three of us there was no excuse for food waste or gluttony. But I still managed to spend just under £100 the week of Christmas on ingredients AND our table was groaning with food. Eeek – some habits die hard.
Unfortunately, Little Miss Green had some kind of stomach bug on the Sunday night before Christmas and she didn’t eat properly for over a week! She sat down with us for Christmas dinner and managed two roast potatoes and one profiterole. All her planning for the glorious puddings she wanted was wasted because she wasn’t well enough to enjoy it.
In addition the cat was ill and couldn’t eat for three days. I had cooked her a chicken, as I always do. BUT I had bought frozen a week in advance, so I couldn’t refreeze it. Needless to say, the birds had a mighty feast, as we discovered quite by accident that birds love cooked chicken. You learn something new every day…….
On Christmas morning I was freezing half of the things I had made in advance and I’ll pull them out for LMG’s Birthday in March. I’ve also carefully documented the most popular foods of the ones I made and next year I have said I’m only making two puddings. (I made five this year – I know, I know; my two are big into chocolate, cream and decadence on the puddings front and I love making them). I made chocolate cake, cheesecake brownies, chocolate dipped shortbread, trifle and profiteroles….. (Spot the chocolate theme)
Fortunately, Mr Green is happy with leftovers and eating the same food for a few days, so he munched his way through all the meat, roast potatoes and half of the vegetables. We did end up throwing three roast potatoes into the compost heap, because they don’t reheat well. By Sunday all I needed to make for Sunday lunch was more potatoes as they still had a lot to get through. Fortunately, all of the savoury food was eaten and Mr Green dutifully ate the remaining puddings over the following week, with the other half put in the freezer. I also froze some gravy for next weekend, but everything else was eaten up.
Regarding packaging for food, I was really pleased with our lot. Little Miss Green was too ill to eat, but not too ill to berate me for buying prepared sausages in bacon. I couldn’t face queuing at the butchers two days before Christmas to buy sausages and bacon. A couple of years ago we ordered cooked beef and waited one and a half hours at sub zero temperatures in the street as the queue snaked around the village. I vowed never again, so bought the convenience version from the supermarket. Little did I realise that they came on an unmarked black plastic tray (which is not recyclable around here, despite the labelling) and were wrapped in some form of thick clingfilm. Once I examined the labelling after purchase, I realised what I had bought, but there we are; you live and learn…………
However, I did surpass myself on the puddings front. Yes, we could have invited the entire community for tea, but they all got eaten or put away for another time. Whatsmore, THIS is the only packaging I created:
I would love to have the money to go out and buy the equivalent versions of everything I made just to compare the packaging we would have created if we had bought a ready made version. But I’m sure you can imagine what it might have looked like.
In my lovely pile I have a couple cardboard boxes of fruit sugar, foil and paper chocolate wrappers, a paper bag from flour and a gelatine sachet. Add a carton of cream and the sausages and bacon packaging and I think you have the sum total of the packaging we generated this Christmas. Apart from the wrapped sausages, everything else can be reused or recycled – yipee!
Overall, I’m pleased with both the limited amount of food waste we created and the lack of packaging. I would say it’s been a great success, especially now I’ve learned this new shocking statistic from WRAP.
How about you – what did you learn this year that you can bring into play for next year regarding food waste and packaging?
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