As the founder of Hong Kong’s first globally affiliated food bank, Feeding Hong Kong, Gabrielle Kirstein knows a thing or two about food waste. Feeding Hong Kong has to-date provided over 7.3 million meals to Hong Kong’s hungriest. While her charity focuses on collecting and redistributing food that would otherwise be wasted by companies, it may shock you to find out that the majority of food waste in Hong Kong – over two-thirds – comes from households! This means that by making small changes to how we shop, cook and handle leftovers, each and every one us can take action against food waste and make a difference. Below Gabrielle shares her top tips to prevent unnecessary wastage in your home.
1. Shop On a Need Basis
Plan out meals in advance and making a detailed shopping list. Do you have plans to eat out one night? Is there a chance you might work late? It’s amazing how going in with a shopping list can keep you focused and curb the temptation of impulse buys which may end up getting wasted.
2. Know What You’re Buying
Take care when reading date labels. A Use By Date indicates when a product may no longer be safe to eat. You shouldn’t eat, cook, or freeze it after this date. However, a Best Before Date is an indication of quality not safety. Generally items with a Best Before Date have a long shelf life and can be safely consumed after the date has passed. They may not be perfect – for example their colour or texture – but you don’t need to throw food items away the minute their Best Before Date is past.
3. Cook To Use Up Ingredients
You’ve planned your shopping, now get creative with your cooking. Things don’t always go to plan so double check what ingredients need to be used first and let your inner MasterChef loose. If you make more than you can eat, then use your freezer, Not only will it save you money and time, but you’ll also avoid unnecessary waste.
4. Cherish Leftovers
Order too much food in a restaurant? Ask to get it boxed up to takeaway – even better bring your own box and be prepared. You’ll have a ready made lunch for the next day.
5. Share With Others
Have a bunch of cans in your cupboard that you bought on impulse and are unlikely to use? Received a few too many mooncakes from friends and family? Donate them to Feeding Hong Kong and we’ll make sure they get to somebody who would otherwise go without.
Lead photo courtesy of Pexels.