TikTok chef reveals best ways to reduce food waste and save money

Virgin Radio

5 Jul 2022, 07:18

Food waste

Credit: Getty

Not only is reducing how much food you waste better for the environment, but it’s also better for your bank account.

Recent research found that the average UK household spends over £700 a year on food waste, which equates to a staggering 6.6 million tonnes per home.

As TikTok chef, Martyn Odell, also known as the Food Waste Disruptor, says: “Food waste is a massive issue. It impacts our pockets and the environment as wasted food is also wasted energy, labour and transportation.”

He adds: “A few changes in the way we organize our kitchens, shops and cook can play a huge role in saving us cash and saving the planet.”

Chef Martyn also runs digital courses to help people cut down on food waste, and here are his top tips for doing just that.

Organise your food storage

Make sure you’re not shoving things at the back of your fridge or cupboard to just completely forget about them.

Have a look to see what you already have and try to add it to a meal here and there. That will also prevent you from buying more of the same and creating even more waste.

Another tip here is to use your common sense when it comes to the best before date. It’s just a guide, so if your ingredient looks and smells okay, then it is probably okay to use. You can also use apps like Olio to give away things you likely won’t use.

Prioritise perishables

Things like fruit and veg are the most perishable things you can buy- they will likely have a minimum shelf life of three days  or so. When you buy them, make sure your meals include these ingredients first.

Meal plan

The best way to make sure you're keeping on top of your perishables and reducing food waste is to plan your meals for the week. Make a list of the things you want to cook, write up a shopping list, and off you go.

It doesn’t have to be strict, but even just thinking about what days you’re going to be home and needing meals in the evening or for lunch will make a difference.

Smart shopping

It’s the age-old rule of, 'don’t shop when you’re hungry'. If you’re carting around Tesco with an empty stomach, chances are you’re going to start picking up stuff that you don't need.

Stick to your shopping list, and if something tickles your fancy then make sure you haven’t already got it at home and that you can fit it in with your plan.

Portion control

A quarter of household waste is generated because we cooked, prepared and served too much. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you’re hungry, but simply understanding what portion sizes work best for you can make a huge difference to the amount of food you’re wasting.

Compost it

No matter how much you plan, there will always be some leftover food. So, a great way to reduce how much you waste is to invest in a composter that will turn your organic food scraps into fertilizer for your plants.

Your goal is to stop food from going into the bin, so you could also get clever and use your imagination by turning veg peels into crisps by roasting them in a little oil and experimenting with pickling veg like beetroot with homemade vinegars.

Forget being perfect

If you’re not used to cutting down on food waste like this, it may take a few weeks to get into the swing of it. You might find yourself going off-track, and that’s okay! Take a moment to reset, assess why you’re straying back to old habits and try again. It’s not about being perfect!

Stick with your supermarket

While shopping at organic and seasonal farm shops is lovely, it’s counterintuitive to do so and then waste the food. Not to mention expensive.

You can still play a part in helping the planet and getting quality food by not shopping at an organic farm.

Use the freezer

The freezer is a godsend when it comes to reducing food waste. The more food you store in it, the more efficient it is to run.

Some great things to keep fresh in the freezer that you might not have thought of are ingredients like ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass- they will keep for longer and can be easily used when needed.

You can also put softer cheeses like feta, stilton and goat’s cheese in the freezer and grate when needed too.

Another top tip is to make butter sticks flavored with garlic, chilli and leftover herbs. These can be grated over dishes or cut off as cubes for cooking.

Check out Martyn’s food waste Crash Course here.