Working a lot with food, and having run a food business for a number of years, I have seen a lot of food waste.

This is mostly because there is a big public scare on ‘sell-by’ and ‘use-by’ dates that most people stick to religiously and of course food retailers need to take all these into account so not to cause any illnesses or food poisoning to their customers.

However when we are living and eating a vegetarian and vegan diet, most of our foods should have longer use by dates then say, meat, eggs, fish and dairy products, which can go off more quickly then vegetables and can be affected by its surroundings (temperature etc).

I recently saw a program on the BBC where the reporting crew were visiting some of the biggest high street supermarkets and saw so much fresh produce (vegetables, salads and fruits) simply being dumped into a big skip and sent away to be disposed of because their sell by date had past.  As you can imagine, most of these items were still in good condition and perfectly edible however, by law, they could not continue to sell them.

I for one, often have lots of fruit and veg left in my fridge and use it well after their sell by date because they not only look fine, they taste fine and will be perfect for that veggie casserole, veggie soup, smoothie or even a fruit crumble!

I feel that if we all rebelled a little more about food waste and sell by dates, especially for fruit and vegetables, then the supermarkets and suppliers would start to think about extending the sell by date thereby reducing food waste.

What are your thoughts?  What are your personal experiences with food in your kitchen and in the supermarkets?  Do you use food past their sell by date?  If so, for what type of products?

When watching tv, we are often shown commercials whereby we see children and family dying of starvation, dying from food and water shortages and this often makes me wander how we have so much excess and misuse our luxuries and they don’t even have the bare essentials and staple diet.  This is all ‘Food4Thought’ and gets me thinking and should get us all thinking.

When I have ‘Cafe Virtuoso’, we often donated left over food to local charities as well as offering food to local homeless people, which in Bedford is increasing.  Now, having a food business from home, I am aware and more conscious of what I buy, how much and ensuring that I make good use of all the foods in my fridge.

Get Connected

There are some great food apps and social media groups out there that connect you with people who either have too much food and are happy to give away or even restaurants giving food that would otherwise go to waste at a minimal charge.

Try Be connects cooks to people who want a home-cooked meal and allows people to bulk cook for others. It’s perfect for when you’re working late and don’t want to panic-buy half a dozen ingredients you’ll never eat or rely on a covered in plastic ready meal.  I’m not sure which areas this covers however worth checking out.

Too Good To Go is an app that connects restaurants who have meals that would otherwise be thrown away with hungry people, who can buy them for between £2 and £3.80. The service covers London, Manchester and North Yorkshire and from November 2016 has saved over 10,000 meals from the bin. Meals are available to collect an hour before closing and come in a environmentally friendly sugarcane box.

More locally Abundance Bedford shares any items that are surplus for those wishing to collect and enjoy.

For more features on food waste and those working to combat it, go to pebble magazine.

So on a lighter note, I have created a delicious veggie & bean casserole dish, perfect for the weather we are experiencing in the UK now, and of course to use up all those vegetables gathering in the drawer at the bottom of my fridge.

Click here for recipe Vegetable & Bean Casserole .  This dish is both vegan and gluten free.

Any comments or feedback, please get in touch and of course I would love to hear about your experiences.

#vegan #glutenfree #foodwaste #foodforthought #consciouthinking


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