When it comes to eating and drinking one thing that really gets on my nerves is food waste. I absolutely hate it with a passion. I have watched many food television programmes and have been shocked by the people on the show that have been spending hundreds of pounds on their weekly food shop, to then throw most of it into the bin.
The only thing that I ever seem to throw out is a bit of lettuce as the size of the lettuce bags are so big that no matter how many salads I make, I will often end up with a 10th of a bag left over.
But that is it…..
My freezer is full to the top with left over meals for when we can’t be bothered to cook, so rather than been full of meals pre-bought from the supermarket they are full of my own meals. Plus I know when I make something it was last and I will get full value out of it.
Plus by using leftovers it is amazing how cheap your food shopping bill really is. We average about £240 a month and we eat really nice foods including salmon as part of our healthy diet. It’s just a case of getting your monies worth out of it all.
So when I was watching Jamie Oliver last night in the new series of Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast I was fascinated when they discussed the amount of food waste due to supermarkets refusing to sell misshaped fruit and vegetables.
How it is in Portugal
In Portugal ever since we moved here in 2008 the place has been full of funny looking fruit and vegetables. It looks funny and it adds some humour to our weekly food shop. The carrots always tend to look the same but when it comes to the peppers they never look like a normal shape. The celery always looks like it has just come out of the ground with the leaves still on it and the butternut squash is always wonky.
But the price is what counts and of course the food waste is better!
When we first arrived in Portugal we were amazed by how cheap it is compared to England. Where you can get a fantastic super sized fresh pineapple for less than 75p. Or the large wonky peppers for less than 10p each and they are so big they do quite a lot of meals.
Everybody loves them and no one ever turns down the fruit or vegetables just because of the shape.
40% waste in England
Jamie Oliver pointed out in the show that due to the supermarket turning down 40% of vegetables due to them not being the perfect shape that more and more is getting thrown in landfills and it is sad to see so much good produce not been used.
I was screaming at the television when I saw all the parsnips being thrown away as in Portugal they cost quite a bit of money because they are not a local produce and what I would give to get some cheap parsnips!
For me with vegetables it is always chopped up and served in salads, curries, casseroles and stews so it really doesn’t matter what shape it is.
Plus – I have always wondered if all vegetables were sold to supermarkets if it would bring the price down. After all if farmers are throwing away 4 in every 10 carrots and they are only making £800 per tonne then surely it must be driving up the price?
Though, if I was one of the farmers I would be creating pound shops selling off my carrots at an amazing price and I bet it would earn more from that than what the supermarkets pay.
The Asda Experiment
In the programme Jamie did an experiment at Asda where he put out a display of his badly shaped and unloved vegetables to see if people would buy it if it was at a reduced price, and guess what? The majority of people did!
You may not get the sales at somewhere like Waitrose, where people expect a certain level of quality for the prices they are paying, but for a supermarket like Asda that is known for its low prices and people on a budget, it would sell like crazy.
Hopefully with Asda looking into giving it a trial we could see an end to the supermarket waste. I don’t expect the high end supermarkets to do anything about it but imagine if all the low end ones did?
If Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi all took it on the difference we could make.
And then if what is left over could be donated to soup kitchens then we may well stop future fruits and vegetables making it into the landfills.
I hope Jamie Oliver wins this challenge so that we can enjoy fruits and vegetables in England without super sized prices and food waste.