When was the last time you brought home your favorite fruits and vegetables only to have their lifespan cut short? You are not alone in this battle. In fact, 30-50% of purchased food never even make it into our belly! Not only are we wasting valuable resources in which can help reduce our growing food insecurity rate, we are also wasting our finances. The average American wastes 209-254 pounds of food per year. While globally, 4.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year. If the United States wasted just 5% less food, it would be enough to feed 4 million Americans and 15% less waste could feed 25 million Americans annually. Today, 1 in every 6 Americans face food insecurity.
Much of our household food waste is due to overcooking, spoilage, plate waste and over-purchasing. Fortunately, some manufacturers are aiding in the reduction of Food Waste by creating products that can help prolong food life, and make storage easier.. Some of the products that I have found to be useful are:
Fruit & Vegetable Storage:
- BluApple: It’s designed to provide effective ethylene gas absorption for three months in a typical home refrigerator produce bin or storage container.
- Trudeau Microfiber Salad Dryer Bag: Will help freshly washed greens dry and crisp for days.
- Cuisipro Herb Keeper: A clever solution for storing and extending the life of herbs and asparagus.
- Fresh Paper: A simple and natural solution to keeping produce fresh for up to 2 to 4 times longer.
Pantry & Bulk Storage:
- Fido Jars: Good for storing and canning just about anything!
- Lock-Eat Jars: Not only for storing food but the lids can come completely off and you can eat right out of them.
- AirScape Canisters: Canister with patented lid removes and locks out air to preserve and protect freshness and flavor.
- AirScape Bucket Lid: With the AirScape inner lid, the air is forced out of any three, five, or seven gallon bucket so you can properly store whatever you have inside--regardless of how full it is.
- Bulk Jars: Sometimes just a plain jar does the trick!
- Twix It!: The TwixIt! clips will clip closed any bag. You can use a dry erase marker to note open dates.
Refrigerator & Freezer Storage:
- Evolution Containers: Lid has four locking tabs to ensure freshness and leak-proof seal; Stackable design to save space.
- Mepal Cirqula Multi Bowl: It has been designed specifically for a complete 'circle of use'. Freezer, Dishwasher, and Microwave safe.
- RSVP Freezer Labels: Self- adhesives designed to help you determine what's in the bag. Perfect for freezer use and refrigerator use!
Some other ways to avoid food waste are by
- Shopping Smart: Plan your meals, utilize shopping lists, avoid super deals such as “Buy one, Get one free” and impulse buys.
- Buy the fruit that clearly has character: Avoid buying the prettiest of fruit as the imperfect looking fruit is equal in taste. By doing this you are contributing to the help in supermarket food waste.
- Utilize your freezer: Freezing fresh produce and leftovers will help prolong their lifespan if you know that you won’t get around to eating them before they go bad.
- Order Half-Portions at restaurants: Some restaurants will provide half-portions upon request at reduced cost. Doesn’t hurt to ask if you know you aren’t going to eat those leftovers!
- Eat your leftovers: Only about 50% of Americans take leftovers home from restaurants and not all of the leftovers that make it home, make it into a belly.
- Compost Food Scraps: Composting food scraps will not only reduce the climate impact, but it will also recycle their nutrients!
- Donate Food: Check your pantry for unwanted, unspoiled, and non-perishable food and donate to your local food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters!