Take home tips to tackle kitchen food waste

21 January 2020

Interview with 

Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Anglia Ruskin University

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We’ve only just scratched the surface of the conversation around food waste! Katie Haylor asked consumer psychologist Cathrine Jansson-Boyd from Anglia Ruskin University for a few take home tips...

Cathrine - It's all about being practical and trying to take an organised approach to shopping. Try to decide on a weekly basis what you're going to eat for every day of the week. Are you going to eat out? Then you know you don't need to buy something for that particular day. Make a very structured shopping list. Go to the supermarket, or online shopping, wherever you do shopping, buy only exactly what you think you're going to need. And don't fall for any extra sort of bargains, or resist those, make sure you have plenty of time when you're in the supermarket because when you're rushed, you tend to make decisions that aren't based on the practicality of what you're actually needing.

Chris - Do you think the answer might be to encourage people to grow more of their own? If you look at the times when food was more precious to us because we had to go to a lot more effort, and we had to spend more money to get it, we were much more careful with it. And it's now we've got this embarrassment of riches and we don't actually care for it.

Cathrine - The more ownership you take over anything in life, including food, the more likely you are to make sure that you're actually using it. So that could be one way forward, absolutely. But of course, not everybody has a garden to grow their own food, in which case we need to be more practical. And equally they should consider going with a set budget, only buy exactly the items that you need for a certain kind of amount. And hopefully people also will reduce their spend on things like sweets.

Chris - Do you think that the loss of home economics classes in schools for a whole generation, people my sort of age; it had been dropped from the curriculum, regarded as a bit boring and not very sexy - it's back now, a bit, but not perhaps as much as you could do - but people don't really understand the value of food, so they don't necessarily repurpose things. "Ooh, I'll turn those vegetables, they're looking a bit iffy, I'll turn them into a stew now." People don't think like that.

Cathrine - Of course that would be helpful. Maybe we need to start teaching children at a young age what it actually means to reuse food, so we all have a better understanding of it. Part of what's actually gone missing in the process is people are scared to be creative with food, but if you have some not so nice looking vegetables, you can actually still reuse them, you can do something. But you might not know what to do with them unless you're happy to be creative and experiment a bit with food, come up with a different type of recipe. What could you do with your leftovers if you're stuck with loads of vegetables? Well, that's up to you to come up with. Maybe make a nice vegetable stew or a curry or something, where it doesn't matter about their appearance. But people do need to be more experimentally enticed when it comes to different types of dishes and food use.

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