Four ways to reduce food waste during the Holidays2019-12-19
During the holidays there is a lot of focus on food. It is the time of the year when we consume in abundance and throw away more food than ever- at the same time as we know that food waste has a negative impact on our climate and what we choose to eat and how we handle the food matters. So, what can we do to reduce the food waste? Researcher Helén Williams at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University, gives us some practical advice.
"It is simply distasteful that we shop in abundance and then throw away the food when we don’t want it anymore, says Helén Williams, Associate Professor of Environment and Energy Systems. International reports show that food waste is an increasingly important issue to address in order to decrease the environmental impact of the food industry. We produce 30% more food globally than we need to if we would handle the food better. If we take the climate impact from the food waste and compare it with different countries, the food waste would land on third place after China and the US. Christmas is one of the holidays when a lot of extra food is thrown away.
During the past ten years, researcher Helén Williams together with Fredrik Wikström and other colleagues both at CTF and world-wide, have explored how food waste can be reduced. She thinks that the fact that we throw away so much food around Christmas is because of the expectations and pictures we have of how a real Christmas dinner should look like. We want to please many generations and don’t dare to challenge old traditions.
"As more people are beginning to eat more vegetables, both out of health- and environment reasons, maybe the Christmas dinners also could be changed. From a climate perspective it is worse to throw out products that require more resources to be made, such as meat and dairy products, says Helén Williams who thinks it is ok to eat traditional dishes during the holidays as long as you eat it all and don’t throw it in the trash.
How to reduce food waste this Christmas
Reducing food waste is primarily about better planning, says Helén Williams and gives us some practical tips on how to reduce food waste:
1. Reduce the quantity
Buy and cook fewer dishes, or smaller quantities of all the dishes you want on the Christmas table, to increase the chances that what you bought and cooked will be consumed.
2. Handle your food properly
Refrigerate leftover food quickly, try using cool packs to increase the shelf life of the cold food, so leftovers can be eaten the next day.
3. Share your leftovers
Have the guests bring home leftover food.
4. Take care of the leftovers and get creative
Freeze the leftovers that you don’t want to eat the next day. Most food items can be frozen and even if you are tired of the Christmas food, leftovers from the Christmas table can be used in another meal at the beginning of next year.