Minimizing Food Waste

One third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted globally (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2013). When food is wasted, both food and money are lost. Also, energy, water and other resources that have been used to produce the food are wasted.

Do your part for sustainability, not to mention for your food budget, by following these tips to minimize food waste.

Some Suggestions:

  • Buy what you can use. Be mindful of sales like “Buy 4 for the price of 3” if you cannot use them all before going bad. Many stores will still give you the same deal when only buying 1 or 2 of the item. If the item gets thrown away, then you definitely did not take advantage of the cost savings.
  • Learn about Best Before Dates. These are not indicators of food safety, either before or after the date, and many foods can be safely consumed after the best before date. There is more information here:
  • Store your food properly. One of the best ways to prevent waste is to store food properly and manage what you have that is most perishable (e.g. meat, produce). Move things to the freezer if you can’t use them in time (e.g. ripe bananas, tomatoes for sauce, tofu for grating). There is more information here:
  • Be flexible in meal planning to use things up. Keep menus as a guideline but allow for swaps if it means preventing food waste. Consider making a soup, frittata or casserole to use up vegetables that are hanging around, or leftover cooked grains, legumes or meats (use within 3 days). Make your own ricotta or farmer’s cheese with excess milk that is close to date. Grind up stale bread or loaf ends for bread crumbs. Puree ripe fruit to use immediately or freeze to add to a smoothie or to cook into a compote or applesauce.


Here are more resources for minimizing food waste: