How to Reduce Food Waste This Christmas

It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas, cramming the trolley full of festive food, offers and tasty treats. With our eyes bigger than our bellies, this leads to a staggering amount of food waste every Christmas.

But, with a few simple changes and a little bit of planning ahead, you can help to reduce your food waste. And if everyone plays their part, the impact could be massive.

Here are our top five tips to reduce food waste this Christmas…

1. Plan Ahead

The easiest way to avoid food waste is to only buy and cook suitable amount of food for each guest.

You’ll likely know how many guests you’re catering for, so why not create a festive menu for them to choose from? You can either provide a single choice which makes it easy for working out portion sizes and the total amount of food you’ll need, or you could ask your guests to ‘order ahead’.

This means that you’re not buying, cooking and wasting a whole turkey, when all your guests opt for the Plant-Based Chickenless Roast.

2. Show a bit of restraint

We’ve all been there… worrying that there’s not enough food for everyone. And then you end up with seven different types of potato, three different trifles, profiteroles and a yule log.

Be realistic and focused on what you want to serve for your family and friends this year. Especially in the current economic climate, there’s nothing wrong with showing a bit of restraint and this in turn will help to reduce food waste.

3. Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry!

The supermarkets are wonderful at this time of year. They’re grottos of festivity, with shelves full of limited editions or festive favourites.

For any foodie these goodies are hard to resist at the best of times, but go to the supermarket when you’re hungry and you might need a second trolley.

Try to do the ‘big shop’ when you’re not so hungry that you’re having to resist eating items off the shelves. Your fridge, and waste bin, will thank you for it.

4. Write a shopping list – and stick to it!

Once you’ve planned your Christmas meals in advance – check out our plant-based Christmas recipes if you haven’t already – then write a shopping list.

Check what you have in the cupboards against this list (guaranteed you already have two pots of cinnamon and a bag of sesame seeds hiding somewhere!) to make sure you’re not doubling up on anything.

Then, when you’re at the supermarket, make sure you stock to your list. Or, better still, arrange for a click and collect or home delivery.

5. Freeze your leftovers

In the weeks leading up to Christmas start using up items which have been in the freezer a while. Or, you can practice your Tetris skills.

All those leftover peas, cabbage, carrots and potatoes can go in the freezer. As can any leftover meat – thinking winter warming soups, casseroles or curries.


How food waste affects the environment

The impact that food waste has on the environment is massive. It accounts for one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, generating 8% of annual greenhouse gas emissions1.

It’s not just the physical act of wasting food – although that is important – it’s everything involved in the process which is in effect wasted.

To grow, farm, produce, move, store and cook food requires lots of energy, land, fuel, feed and water. And all of those processes let off greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

Then, when that food is wasted and inevitably goes to landfill, it rots and releases the greenhouse gas methane.


1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Food waste footprint & climate change