Store food bet­ter so you waste less and save cash, writes NADA FARHOUD

Gloucestershire Echo - - CASHING IN -

MOULDY cheese, week­sold ham, or a plate of left­overs from your Sun­day roast din­ner.

Chances are most of what you will find in the re­cesses of your fridge will end up in the bin.

Last year we threw away 10.2 mil­lion tons of food. Of this, five mil­lion tons was still edible.

That is the equiv­a­lent of £494m worth of food each week, ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by recipe box com­pany Gousto for Stop Food Waste Day.

Con­fus­ing food la­bels such as “once opened” in­struc­tions, are in­con­sis­tent and un­clear as to whether they are rec­om­men­da­tions on food safety or qual­ity – and con­trib­ute to food waste.

But also sim­ply turn­ing down the tem­per­a­ture in your fridge can help to keep food fresher.

Three-quar­ters of us run our fridges too warm – a move which could pre­vent up to 4.2 mil­lion of tonnes from be­ing dumped and save each fam­ily a small fortune.

So what tem­per­a­ture should your fridge be set at and which shelves are best for what foods?

Read are guide on how to cut down on food waste. It is bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment and your pocket.


EX­PERTS say the op­ti­mum over­all tem­per­a­ture is be­tween 0˚C and 4˚C. Aside from food go­ing off be­fore its best-be­fore date, there are sev­eral warn­ing signs that your fridge is at the wrong tem­per­a­ture.

Mod­ern ap­pli­ances have a built-in ther­mome­ter with some ac­ti­vat­ing an alarm if the tem­per­a­ture drops be­low or above the op­ti­mum range.

Con­den­sa­tion on the in­side walls means it is too warm as the fridge’s gas is be­ing turned into liq­uid, which may contaminat­e food on the lower shelves. If it is too cold, ice maybe vis­i­ble at the back.

This could also be caused by a faulty door al­low­ing warm air from the out­side into the fridge.


THE more stuffed your fridge shelves be­come, the harder it is to keep cool. Ex­perts rec­om­mend turn­ing down the ther­mo­stat by one de­gree if it is packed.

But an empty fridge is not ef­fi­cient ei­ther. To pre­vent the fridge get­ting too cold, place a cou­ple of jugs of wa­ter on a shelf to fill up space. Or you can turn the tem­per­a­ture set­ting up a notch. Ideally, a fridge should be around three-quar­ters full to al­low cold air to cir­cu­late.


MANY of the items in our fridges will be suitable for home freez­ing, which can ex­tend their shelf life mas­sively. It does not have to be on the day of pur­chase ei­ther, just as long as it is be­fore the use-by date.


AVOID cook­ing too much by stick­ing to rec­om­mended serv­ing sizes listed on pack­ag­ing. If you do over-cook – freeze the re­main­ing left­overs for an­other day.


IF THERE is per­fectly good food at risk of the bin, why not ask your neigh­bour if they would like it or donate it to a food­bank? OLIO is also a free app which con­nects neigh­bours with each other and to their lo­cal shops so that sur­plus food can be shared around.

It is now be­ing used by 900,000 peo­ple, grow­ing from a lo­cal ini­tia­tive in North Lon­don in 2015 to a com­pany with a pres­ence in 46 coun­tries.


PHO­TOGRAPH­ING the con­tents of your fridge be­fore you leave the house could save the av­er­age UK house­hold £235 a year, Sains­bury’s say by pre­vent­ing over-buy­ing.


NEARLY 20% of us are still con­fused by best-be­fore and use-by dates.

The use-by date is about safety and the most im­por­tant to re­mem­ber. Foods can be eaten (and most can be frozen) up un­til the use-by date, but not after.

Best-be­fore refers to the qual­ity and taste.

The food is most likely safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best in terms of flavour and tex­ture.

You can­not beat look­ing, smelling, and tast­ing for a re­li­able in­di­ca­tor of how fresh the food is.


DED­I­CATE 10 min­utes of your week to check­ing what is in the fridge and cup­boards, and cre­at­ing a meal plan for the week ahead.

Choose meals that use sim­i­lar in­gre­di­ents to avoid waste.

For ex­am­ple, make a chicken and veg­etable soup on Mon­day and use the left­over veg­eta­bles to beef up your shep­herd’s pie later on in the week.


IF YOU have a gar­den, why not get a com­post bag for any left­overs and peel­ings, or check with your coun­cil if they of­fer a food waste dis­posal ser­vice.

Ev­ery­thing from egg shells to scraps left on your plate will then be dis­posed of in an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fash­ion.


ICE cube trays are not just for wa­ter. Left­over red wine can be frozen and used to add to a beef stew or spaghetti bolog­nese.

You can even freeze milk in an ice cube tray and pop one in your tea. Ideal for if you ever run out.

The more full your fridge is, the harder it is to keep cool

Don’t throw away per­fectly edible food

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