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food waste solutions

Food Waste

Food waste has become a burgeoning problem among our society. Did you know that roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted?¬† From improper use or storage to discarded “ugly” produce, we must find a way to address this issue.

This was the task at hand for students at the University of Florida’s Innovation Academy. They were asked to create a business concept or invention that could tackle the food waste problem. Ideas included a household composting device, participating in food drives, and donating to food pantries. These bright young students were onto something, however, they all seemed to assume that food waste is inevitable. We need to take a closer look at what causes us to create food waste so we can stop it at the source.

Take, for example, the standards that fruits and vegetables must meet in order to be on display. We have these ideas of what produce should look like in our minds and if they do not match what is available, we likely will not buy it. Thus, “ugly” produce that do not meet the standards is often discarded or wasted. Also, because of our attraction to abundance, we are more likely to choose from a large pile of apples as opposed to a small one, even if they were identical apples.

So how can we proactively decrease food waste? Imperfect Produce is a company that offers affordable fruits and vegetables to consumers by sourcing the produce rejected on farms for cosmetic reasons. Whether they are too small, misshapen or the wrong color, rather than being wasted, they are salvaged  and help offered at a lower price, also helping to decrease food insecurity.

Another proposed idea is to get people involved in food production. When students plant a seed and watch it grow into sustainable food, they get to experience firsthand all the hard work that goes into food production (energy, time, labor, water). Their investment in the production of food could lead to a better understanding that when it comes to food waste, we lose much more than just food.

Do you have any ideas on how we can prevent food waste? Any thoughts on how to make the most of our food waste? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Come in for a yummy sandwich, fresh salad, or tasty dessert weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).

How To Cut Down On Your Food Waste

Food waste continues to be a major problem among us. Not only is it costing us money, but its impact on our environment is damaging. But why do we have so much food waste? Our poor shopping habits are likely to blame. Find out how we can do our part and cut down on food waste.

Source: Fix.com

Bulk Purchases
One of our poor shopping habits is the allure of bulk purchases. It’s hard to resist buying in bulk. Often times the prices are lower and it saves us trips to the store. Unfortunately, we overestimate our abilities, and the food often goes to waste. While we appreciate the immediate savings, it ends up costing us more in the long run.

But bulk purchases aren’t all bad. There are things better suited to buy in bulk, while other items would be better purchased in smaller quantities more frequently. Buying in bulk is more beneficial to full households rather than single dwellers, simply because there are more mouths to feed. Also when buying in bulk, or grocery shopping in general, be aware of the shelf life. If possible, opt for the items with the longest shelf life, which will give you more time to consume your purchases. Things like dry rice, beans, pasta, cereal, or oatmeal are better to buy in bulk as they don’t require refrigeration and tend to keep longer. On the other hand, things like nuts, spices, produce, and other items you don’t have room to store should be bought on an as needed basis.

Source: Fix.com

Keep Track At Home
Other ways to cut down on your food waste include improving your shopping habits and learning to work with what you have. Refine your cooking skills by signing up for a cooking class, where you can learn far more than just new recipes and techniques. You may be able to learn about food safety, portion sizes, shopping tips and ideas for leftovers. Or you can try your luck at home and search the Internet for video tutorials or recipes.

Keeping a food diary can help you better understand your eating habits. Take note of what you eat, at home or dining out, what you buy, and what you throw out. Soon you will be able to adjust your purchases so that you shop more purposefully.

Buy Fresh, Buy Often
Shopping more frequently may pose as an inconvenience, but will help you significantly cut down on your waste. Fruits, vegetables, and breads typically last about 2-4 days. If you don’t plan on using these by the fourth day, consider freezing them until you’re ready to use them.

Expiration Dates
Having a better grasp on expiration dates will prevent you from throwing out your food too soon, out of fear of uncertainty. The sell-by date is generally used to indicate the freshness of a product, but is not an ultimate consume-by date. Depending on the product and how it is stored, foods can still be viable to eat anywhere from days to weeks after its “best before” dates.

Yes, it is confusing, but luckily, the Internet is at your fingertips and you can do your own research to see how long you can or should keep certain foods. Or you can go with your gut and use your best judgment based on smells or looks.

Source: Fix.com

Storage
If you store smarter, you can prolong the shelf life of your foods. For example, the crisper drawer is where most of us store our produce. Unfortunately, this may not be the best idea. Certain fruits and vegetables require different humidity settings, and, as the old adage goes, out of sight, out of mind. If your produce is ripe, keep it within sight so that you don’t forget about them.

Organizing your refrigerator can greatly reduce your food waste. The warmest part of your refrigerator is the top shelf, and the temperature lowers as you go down, making the bottom shelf the coldest. Prepared food, yogurt, cheese and sauces fare well on the top shelf, while your properly sealed (to avoid cross contamination) meats, fish and poultry are better off on the bottom shelf.

Reserve your crisper drawer for more delicate vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots, and leafy veggies. Fruits may be stored here, but most are better stored on a shelf or cool counter (ex. apples, apricots, nectarines). Strawberries and cherries are best kept in an airtight container on a refrigerator shelf.

Do you have any shopping, cooking, or storage tips to reduce food waste? Share them with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

If you’re looking for the best fresh, natural, and just plain yummy sandwiches in Pomona, visit us at the Brick Market & Deli – Your Neighborhood Deli. We’re located on the northwest corner of Arrow Hwy and Garey Ave, open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.

Source: Fix.com