As a self-confessed foodie, I love any excuse to eat and will gladly celebrate any food related event, but there’s one day that we should all be aware of – Stop Food Waste Day on 28th April.

Stop Food Waste Day was created by Compass Group in 2017 with the goal of educating people and igniting change. Climate change, wellbeing and sustainability are just some of the key challenges that food waste impacts today.

food in green bag

How big is the issue?

Across the globe, over 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste and the annual value of this food waste is $1 trillion.  It sounds like a big number but how much is that really?

An area larger than China is used to grow food that is never eaten every day.

25% of the world’s water supply is used to grow the food that is never eaten.

If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.

 

According to the Stop Food Waste Day’s website, part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal is to halve food waste by 2030.

Despite this, we are actually on a trajectory to waste 1/3 more than we currently do.  This means more greenhouse gases from food waste in landfill, more overfishing, and more trees being cut down to make space for industrial farming.

Sound scary yet?

The above statistics may make this sounds like a big task that only governments and large corporations can tackle but in developed countries, about ½ of food waste comes from our own homes.

Whilst it might seem trivial to throw away that burnt piece of toast, the wonky, soft piece of fruit in the fruit bowl or the stalk of the broccoli that no one eats but it all adds up!

In the UK, we throw away 25 million slices of bread, 6 million potatoes and 1.4 million bananas every single day.  So, what can we all do to make a change?

 fruit

Top Tips for you

On average, a UK household wastes £800 worth of food every year so think of all the things you could do with a bit of extra cash!

Here are a few of my top tips for reducing food waste:

  1. Avoid buying too much. Before any food shop, plan your meals and go with a shopping list so that you don’t buy food you don’t need.  Also, never shop on an empty stomach.
  2. Make the most of leftovers. Eat them for lunch or freeze them for another day.
  3. Repurpose the scraps. This Christmas I made my first ever turkey soup using our Christmas leftovers.
  4. Understand the difference between “use by” and “best before”. Simple.
  5. Share your food. Humans have been sharing food for over 2,000 years. Why stop now? I use the Olio app which helps me see what food is going for free in my local area.  This could be leftovers from someone’s kitchen or food from supermarkets and restaurants that a Food Hero has collected.

 

Making big changes in our life can sometimes be a little overwhelming so my recommendation is to pick one and get started, then when it’s part of your everyday life, add another!

Coffee beans in hands

What do Express Vending do to help?

As food and drink specialists, food waste has always been a priority for us. We’re constantly exploring new ways to make sure we are doing all we can to be more sustainable.

In our warehouse we use state of the art Lightspeed Technology, which helps us monitor the stock levels in all our machines up and down the country.  This helps us to not overstock shelves if the products are not going to be eaten.

Any food and drink items in our warehouse that are close to expiring are donated to our local foodbank and charity partner, DENS.  They do fantastic work to help those in need in the Dacorum area and last year I was one of the many volunteers who took an afternoon off work to help date and sort the post-Christmas surge in donations.  Similarly, over the last Christmas period (when staff numbers are lower at client sites and waste tends to be higher), one of our Area Retails Managers, Tom Hadley, encouraged his team to give fresh food that was in date but needed to be removed from sites to their local charities where possible. In his team, Joanna Holland, Michelle Banerjee, Yasmin Hayath & Oliver Reed went out their way and managed to donate 164 units to multiple locations in need who were all very grateful.

We have also partnered with the food sharing app Olio. You can opt into this service and a volunteer will come and collect any short dated fresh food before it expires.  We have clients already signed up and we’re expecting to see a lot more throughout 2021.

If you’re interested to know what can be done with out-of-date coffee, you can read more here.

mental health awareness week

What about our supply chain?

We work hard to ensure our suppliers match our mission and values when we choose to work with them, and the Everyday Essentials department in particular have a number of suppliers with great CSR credentials.  Here are three highlights in relation to food waste:

Fruitful Office – Enjoying the highest quality fruit should not mean that bad fruit should be thrown away. Any fruit that isn’t up to their high standards is either donated to underprivileged primary schools (so that they can cut out the bad bits) or to zoos as animal feed.

Morgan’s Dairy – To add to their already long list of CSR credentials, Morgan’s Dairy regularly donate any excess stock (milk, bread, cheese etc) to their local YMCA and a local children’s activity centre or Lara Morgan creates new recipes for the team to try.

Jaspers Catering – Like all our caterers, they plan their menus carefully and are very strict with their ordering guidelines. “We believe in acting today to protect tomorrow. Across our three CSR focus areas of People, Products & Planet, our activities ensure we support every community we engage with, source our products responsibly, and protect the natural resources of our planet.”

 

So, what next?

I hope this article has given you lots of food for thought and you can go away from this with some exciting changes to make!

Reach out to our experienced Account Managers for more information and bespoke suggestions on how we can help you monitor food supplies.

 

 

Written by Annalise Mason, Everyday Essentials Account Manager

 

References

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