Hawkes’ Guide to Reducing Food Waste

Hawkes’ Guide to Reducing Food Waste
26th April 2022 James Brooke

Hawkes’ Guide to Reducing Food Waste

Hawkes sustainability lead shares guide to reducing food waste this Stop Food Waste Day.

For Stop Food Waste Day on 27 April, Elliot Allison, sustainability lead at Hawkes, London’s first urban cidery, shares his guide to reducing food waste at home.

Food waste has become an even bigger issue for Brits in light of rising costs of living. The need to make every penny count is forcing us to find ways to reduce consumption and make our grocery shops go further and in turn, these measures will inevitably help to reduce what we throw away.

“Over a third of all food produced globally goes to waste,” says Elliot, “with the UK contribution around 9.5 million tonnes every year at a value of over £19 billion(1). Not only is this a monumental waste of money, but it’s contributing to more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

“We’re all trying our best to do what we can to better protect the environment – and in the current climate, our purse strings too – but many don’t realise that one of the simplest and easiest ways we can help is by reducing food waste at home. And far from being difficult, it’s all about planning, shopping more mindfully, and getting creative with any potential waste.”

As the lead at an urban cidery turning waste apples into liquid apply goodness, Elliot’s work at Hawkes is all about addressing the issue of food waste. Hawkes’ annual drive for apple donations in collaboration with The Orchard Project, allows the cidery to turn ‘waste’ apples from urban orchards into planet-friendly cider in the capital. Hawkes’ 2021 apple drive saw them save over 130,000 apples that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Read on for Elliot’s guide to reducing food waste at home…

Buy mindfully

Plan your meals for the week. Make a list and buy accordingly, as opposed to wandering around the supermarket grabbing whatever takes your fancy. And avoid going shopping when you’re hungry as you’ll inevitably be tempted to buy lots of extras that you don’t really need!

Meal planning will not only save you money but will help reduce the likelihood of you overbuying and needing to throw anything away.

Check use by dates

It’s important to check the use-by dates of any fresh produce. If you know you aren’t going to cook with an ingredient until later in the week, either buy it fresh and freeze it or if you can, simply hold off purchasing until you are ready to cook with it. And don’t be afraid to return items delivered to your doorstep with a shorter than expected shelf life if it means you’ll likely end up throwing it away.

Eat seasonally

Whilst eating seasonally doesn’t directly help to mitigate food waste, it is much better for the environment. Buying out-of-season produce means flying it in from overseas or using intensive farming methods with ripening agents, pesticides, and heat processes to force them to grow year-round, using huge amounts of natural resources, contaminating our food with chemicals, and generating enormous carbon footprints.

Out of season foodstuffs will likely cost more and will also lack in nutritional value and flavour.

Our favourite time of year is when the apples start falling from their trees but if you’re unsure about what’s in season and when, there’s an abundance of free online resources which you can use to guide you. You could even create a wall chart outlining what’s in season each month, which can then be referred to when writing your shopping list.

Fridge generated food waste

The ideal temperature for your fridge is between 0-5°C, if it’s warmer than this, food will go off much quicker, especially meat and dairy produce. So, if you find that milk and yoghurts are going off much sooner than they ought to, this may well be the issue.
And remember that some foods – bread, bananas, pineapples, potatoes, squash, onions – keep better outside the fridge.

Hydrate your veg

Faced with a fridge full of floppy veg? We’ve all been there.

Many people don’t realise that by placing carrots, celery, asparagus and broccoli in a glass of water, we can rehydrate them, ensuring they stay fresh and crunchy for longer.

Make friends with your freezer

There is a common assumption that frozen produce is less nutrient dense than fresh, but this is definitely not the case. Instead of throwing away fresh fruit or veg that is nearing the end of its shelf life, consider prepping and freezing instead.

Blackening bananas, grapes, berries and chopped tropical fruits all freeze well. For bananas, simply remove the skin and halve before storing in a freezer-friendly reusable container. Frozen fruit can be used to make delicious smoothies, homemade ice creams and fruit bowls or added to breakfasts like overnight oats and left to defrost overnight. Apples can be pureed into a sauce, ready to be defrosted as needed and added to porridge or yoghurt at breakfast time or served with the Sunday roast.

Similarly, fresh spinach, kale and tomatoes can all be frozen ready to add to sauces, curries, soups and stews.

Measure portion sizes

Take away the guesswork, save money and reduce waste by only cooking the amount of food you need.

Whilst everyone has different appetites, using a portion planner gives you a good guide of how much produce is needed per person.

Get creative

When it comes to considering whether something truly needs to be thrown away, get creative and think outside the box.

When prepping fruit and veg, consider ways you can use the elements you’d normally throw away. For example, leafy green carrot tops can be chopped up and used as a herb, with a flavour similar to that of parsley, or even used to make a delicious homemade pesto.

Bread going hard? Blitz it in the food processor and make yourself some breadcrumbs – always useful to have in the kitchen.

Over-ripe fruit can be turned into delicious jams, cakes and desserts, whilst veg can be thrown in for stock, soups, stews and chutneys.

Or why not try making a homemade batch of cider with that bowl of forgotten apples?

To find out more about Hawkes and to try some planet-friendly cider for yourself, visit wearehawkes.com or if you’re keen to try making cider at home check out the @wearehawkes Instagram guides.

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Notes to Editors:

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