UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food, but Approved Foods is on a mission to prevent food waste, and since it was set up in 2009, more than 30,000 tonnes of food and drink have been saved from the bin. Express.co.uk spoke to Andy Needham, Managing Director of Approved Food about ways in which households can reduce their food waste and therefore save money – just like one of his shoppers.
Andy explained what the main foods are that contribute to food waste: “Some of the most wasted food and drink includes potatoes (fresh and processed), bread, milk, meals (homemade and pre-prepared), soft drinks, fruit juice and smoothies, pork, poultry (chicken, turkey, and duck), and carrots (fresh).
“There is also an ongoing trend to remove best before dates from fresh vegetables and to change milk from use by to best before to reduce waste.”
How to reduce food waste:
Check your dates – if food has passed its use by date, then it is not safe to consume. However, if it has passed its best before date and it looks, smells and tastes okay then it’s fine to use!
Make a list and stick to it – we’ve all been tempted by offers in the supermarket that encourage us to buy more than what we need. This can lead to food waste, be mindful when filling your trolley and resist the temptation to bulk buy items that are likely to perish before you eat it.
Consider buying tinned or frozen products – as they often last longer than fresh even if they go past their best before date.
Love your leftovers – store them properly and get creative! If you don’t use it, freeze it.
As for why people throw perfectly edible food away, there are several reasons, including cooking too much, not storing it correctly, or visible signs of deterioration like mould which is harmful to health.
Millions of items are also thrown away simply because they are after the best before date on the packaging, but Andy said plenty of “food that has passed its best before date can still be safe to eat”.
He explained: “Best before dates are an indicative guide of when the quality of food or drink will start to change.
“Best before dates are often confused with ‘use by’ dates. ‘Use by’ is about food safety, but ‘best before’ is linked to quality and often foods are still good quality after their best before.
“Best before should be considered a rough guide rather than a strict rule. There is no reason to throw away food that goes past its best before date, it’s perfectly safe to eat and will often taste just as good.
“However, it is important to use your senses to assess whether the product is still fine to eat,” Andy added.
“For example, if there are visible signs of mould, or it smells unfamiliar then don’t eat it. If it looks, smells and tastes fine then it’s still a perfectly good product that doesn’t need to go to waste.
“Food packed in tins or jars can be good for years after a best before date has passed by as can dry food in foil packs.”
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You can also buy food that is past the best before date, and Approved Foods is an online value retailer that sells these items.
For more than 14 years it’s been “helping shoppers make huge savings on big brand food and drink products, close to and even past their ‘best before’ date – including Nestle, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Heinz, Haribo, and Cadbury, as well as perfectly good toiletries and household products – by selling them at value-for-money prices, from as low as 1p”.
Andy added: “At Approved Food, we exist to reduce food waste. We sell products that would typically be thrown away because they are close to or past their best before date or have slightly damaged or incorrect outer packaging but are still perfectly safe to consume.
“Households can significantly reduce their food waste by not throwing away products due to their best before date alone. Shopping with Approved Food instead of their usual supermarket also helps, of course!”
As for how much money customers could say if they shopped at Approved Foods versus a supermarket, Andy revealed: “Our regular customers typically save around £60 on their monthly shop compared to high street prices. That’s over a whopping £700 per year you too could be saving.
“One of our customers, Jane Macadam reported that she used to spend £120 every 10 days on a food shop but is now spending only £50 for herself and her husband.
“As a result, Jane is saving a lot of money since switching to Approved Food, spending only £1,825 annually as opposed to £4,380 when using regular supermarkets.
“We’re pleased to be helping her and her family make such a big saving during a difficult time when every penny counts.”
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