4 Reasons why you Should Buy Loose Fruit and Vegetables!

Filed in Blog by on July 21, 2021 0 Comments
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plastic free fruits and vegetablesWhen anyone contacts me about starting their own Zero Waste journey, one of the first steps I suggest is buying as much loose fruit and veg as possible. Today I want to outline some of the reasons why, because it might not be obvious!

Reduces plastic packaging

Reducing excess plastic packaging is probably the reason you were thinking of, right?

One of the most challenging aspects of a Zero Waste lifestyle is dealing with excess plastic packaging. And this is a sticking point for many of our readers, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

While a small amount of packaging is good and can help prevent fresh food waste, there is still a lot of excess plastic packaging around. According to this article, a quarter of all household plastic waste by weight is made up of lightweight plastics and includes more than 3.5 billion bread bags and 1.3 billion fruit and veg bags a year. UK consumers use nearly three quarters of a million tonnes of it a year, almost all of which is incinerated.

While this is not only a waste of resources, there are still questions as to whether or not ‘energy from waste’ is as good as it sounds. Some people suggest incineration is safe and an effective use of non-recyclable materials. Others say incineration produces dioxins which we breathe in, plus burning things is a waste of resources…

Support independent local suppliers

While supermarkets are getting much better at offering naked produce, much of it still comes in family sized bags. Once you commit to buying loose, it can be an exciting and rewarding foray into discovering local independent suppliers. And believe me, your taste buds are going to love it!

I’m constantly amazed at some of the incredible small farm shops that seem to keep popping up in my area. It’s such a treat to buy local, seasonal foods and to be able to support an independent grower. The people I meet are genuinely passionate about the quality of food they sell, and their faces light up when you ask for advice or the story behind a particular fruit of veg. And once you get to know them, they will invariably go out of their way to help you, so you feel really valued. And talking of value, this article suggests that for every £10 we spend locally, £3.80 of it ends up staying within the area, so its a boost to your local economy.

Improves your health

If you can only buy family-sized bags of produce from a supermarket, then this will likely limit the range of foods you eat. You don’t want food waste, so you’re more likely to stick to a small selection of items. The beauty of buying loose is that you can buy exactly the amount you need of each item.

In my local farm shop I can buy four apples, or three large carrots or one courgette for instance. This means I can choose a wide range of produce for my money. This, in turn, can contribute to better health.

In a 2017 study, just 29% of adults were eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. When you consider that poor diet and nutrition are recognised as major contributory risk factors for ill health and premature death, it’s clear we need to be improving our diets. I maintain that buying loose is a great way to add variety to your plate! And if you find it all too confusing, this page has a brilliant clear resource on the best fruit and veg to eat for recommended daily intake of vitamins. Take a look and discover the most popular veg by region/age, and the age groups that have the best vitamin intake vs the worst! You might be surprised just how easy it is to reach some of your daily vitamin and mineral targets.

Saves money

We’ve already talked about how buying loose means you can buy exactly the amount you need of any one particular fruit or vegetable and this can also save you money. Why? because you can buy the exact amount of ingredients for a particular recipe, you won’t end up bulk buying things you don’t want to eat too often. Consider the humble banana – supposedly one of our favourite fruits, yet have you ever wondered how many people throw away bananas because a big bag goes off before you can eat them all? According to research 1.4 million bananas are thrown away every day in Britain!

Not only is that wasted food, but there is so much embedded energy in food waste too. Behind all those wasted bananas is also a ludicrous amount of waste water and carbon, with most bananas having travelled half way across the world to reach us and using 95 litres of water per banana to grow.

And behind all this wasted energy is…

your hard-earned cash!

In the UK, the average household could save £700 per year, according to Wrap research, by buying only the food they ate. So doesn’t it make sense to only buy what you need and then eat what you buy? This is so much easier if you buy loose fruit and veg.

So there you have it, four compelling reasons to buy loose fruit and vegetables. Start doing this and not only will you reduce excess plastic packaging, but you’ll have the opportunity to support independent local growers, can improve your chances of hitting your five-a-day AND save money!

 

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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