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Food Safety Week – meal planning saves food waste

According to Love Food Hate Waste, as consumers we waste a whopping 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year. That’s around £50 of good food thrown away by each family every month.

There are several reasons why food is wasted: we buy more than we need – often seduced by ‘Buy One Get One Free’ or similar offers; we don’t store food properly; we forget about it; we don’t feel like eating it on a particular day; or perhaps our plans change and we eat out instead.

As part of Food Safety Week the FSA and Love Food Hate Waste are urging people to plan meals in advance before they go shopping. This can save money as well as avoiding wasting food. Here are a few tips to consider next time you’re planning a shopping trip.

Plan ahead

Plan your meals for the week and write down what you need to buy. Check the fridge and freezer first to avoid buying something that you already have. It’s a good idea to include a couple of meals from the freezer, so that if your plans change and you’re not at home for a particular meal your fresh food won’t go to waste.

Try and stick to your shopping list

Impulse buys can be expensive and if they’re not part of your original list it could lead to something else being wasted. Multi-buy offers can offer great value and are difficult to ignore, but if you do go for them try and adjust your meal planner for the week to accommodate them. You could keep one pack and freeze the other or cook larger portions and freeze them for another time.

Don’t forget to check ‘Use by’ dates

If you are going to freeze food, make sure you do this before the ‘Use by’ date. You should also label and date the food before putting it in the freezer so that you know how long it’s been there.

Make soups and stews

If you find yourself with meat on its ‘Use By’ date and vegetables that have been hanging around for a few days, you could avoid wastage by making casseroles, stews or soups. These can be consumed the same day or cooled down and stored in the freezer.

Using up bread

Bread keeps easily in the freezer and you can simply remove a slice or two as and when you need them. If you do find yourself with half a loaf of bread that’s a couple of days past it’s ‘Best Before’ date, you could always make croutons to go with your soup or why not make a Bread and Butter Pudding:

Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

(From allrecipes.co.uk)


Serves: 12

  • 8 slices white bread
  • 50g (2 oz) lightly salted butter
  • 50g (2 oz) currants or sultanas
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) milk
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream
  • 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 50g (2 oz) candied lemon or orange peel (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4, and butter a 2 litre baking dish.

2. Butter both sides of bread. Arrange one layer of buttered bread on bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the currants (and all of the candied lemon or orange peel if using). Cover with the remainder of bread and currants.

3. Combine milk, cream, sugar and zest. Add milk mixture to eggs while beating vigorously. Pour milk and egg mixture over bread. Top with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

4. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until crust is deep golden brown. Serve warm with custard or cream.

Tip: You can try spreading marmalade over the buttered bread slices for a tasty variation of this recipe.