For us, every day is World Food Day. Here’s how you can make a difference through better food storage methods
Research suggests that a third of the world’s annual food production ends up in the trash. That’s 1.3 billions tonnes of wasted food every year – enough food to feed 868 million of the world’s hungry people. In fact, it’s 4-times the amount of food they need to lead nourished lives.
It’s clear then, that food waste is no small issue. In fact, the United Nations marked it as the #2 topic of their 2030 sustainable development goals. It’s a global issue. In the EU alone, 27 million tonnes of food is wasted each year. Ironically, the biggest culprits of unnecessary food waste are the people who need food the most – us, the consumers. Research estimates that between 30% – 50% of the total amount of food thrown away comes from our own kitchens. While the stats are certainly shocking, the good news is, it points us to a clear solution: the fight against food waste begins with stopping waste at home.
The big issue
There are many reasons why so much food is wasted globally. Sometimes, we simply overshop and can’t consume all the food before it spoils. Other times, certain foods don’t meet our lofty aesthetic standards. In fact, “ugly” fruits and vegetables make up a third of all wasted food – even though it’s perfectly fine to eat. In other cases, food simply doesn’t stand a chance because of improper storage. And that’s a shame because proper food storage can decelerate the ageing process and help reduce food waste.
Food Storage Options
Now that we know careless food storage spoils food at a faster rate, it’s time to look at practical examples. Freezer burn, for example, is what happens when water molecules escape from your frozen food, and oxygen molecules seep in. The oxygen molecules can dull the colour and modify the flavour of your frozen product. Freezer-burnt food is still safe to eat, but as many people find the texture and taste dissatisfying, the food ends up in the bin anyway. Thankfully, there are many solutions for storing frozen foods and keeping it fresher for longer:
Sealable storage bags. By simply storing your produce in specially-made plastic bags, you can prolong the shelf life of the food and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Look for bags with strong seals or double zippers, and make sure the bag closes tightly, without being too difficult to open.
Vacuum-sealed storage bags. These airtight bags effectively help preserve and store foods like red meat, poultry, fish and cheese. The bags have an oxygen and moisture barrier, that effectively helps your goods stay fresher for longer – no matter where you store them.
Food storage containers. Plastic or glass containers of various sizes that are used to store, and in some cases, reheat food. Not only do these help prolong the lifespan of your food, but makes it easier to organise and use space effectively.
Specially designed fridges. The GRUNDIG fridges with FullFresh technology, for example, has small ventilation holes in the back of the fridge to ensure the air in the crisper drawer stays cool, fresh and high in humidity. Small apertures in the top of the drawer optimise air circulation and minimise condensation to prevent fruit and vegetables from rotting. That’s why your fruit and vegetables will stay fresh for up to 30 days.
Practical Tips to Address Storage Mistakes
Storing your food effectively can be a bit of an art form. It’s easy to make food storage mistakes that lead to unnecessary food waste and other food safety risks.
Have a look through these tips to reduce leaks, cross-contamination, freezer burn and accelerated spoilage:
Pack food properly
Foods that are already prepared (like salads, cakes and other ready-to-eat items) should be stored at the top of your refrigerator. Then, from top to bottom, store goods in the following order: raw produce, raw seafood, raw red meat, raw ground meat, and then raw poultry. Using this method of separation reduces that risk of accidental spillages or leaks causing contamination.
Know your temperatures
It goes without saying that different foods have different optimum storing temperatures. Not knowing the proper temperature your food should be stored at, can make it spoil quickly and become harmful to consume. Perishable produce should be kept at or below 5°C in the fridge or below -20°C in the freezer. It’s important to store your foods in similar conditions you purchased it from. if you bought it refrigerated, but it in the refrigerator at when you get home.
Clean storage areas
Fridges, freezers and pantries – essentially all areas that store food – should be cleaned regularly. A daily once-over and a weekly deep scrub are recommended for the fridge, while dry storage areas can be cleaned monthly. remember to move your food to the same temperature zone while cleaning. Employing a cooler box for refrigerated goods works well. Try and avoid frequent thawing of your freezer if possible as condensation can lead to microbial growth.
Food waste is a global problem that simply cannot be ignored anymore. It negatively affects climate change, resource allocation, the economy, and of course, people in need. However, food waste can be curbed. Today initiatives like our Respect Food project helps tackle food waste in many ways. We’ve saved 45 tonnes of food, helped open four community kitchens, recruited 830 volunteers, and served 450 000 dishes of delicious food to thousands of people. Our brand ambassador, Massimo Bottura, has been doing his part too, through his Food for Soul project who we’ve been partnering with the last 3 years.
We feel that it’s our responsibility to lead the fight against this unnecessary food waste. To remind the world not to take food for granted, but to treat it with care. And the reason is simple: respecting food is the only way we can ensure a better future. Every day, we should work together with the common goal of fighting food waste.
Our commitment to fighting food waste is also reflected in the people we support. People like you. With simple changes like changing the way your store your goods, you can make a huge impact – in more ways than you can imagine.