It’s probably not a surprise to hear that as a nation we’re wasting £700 per family a year chucking out food that’s gone past its best, but have you ever thought about the nutritional value of what you’re slinging in the bin?
Sainsbury’s have done some research into the amount of vitamins and minerals we’re trashing, and it has discovered that 60 tonnes of vital vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are binned annually. Potatoes, bread and milk are the most likely contenders:
· Annually, 733,000 tonnes of potatoes are chucked, equating to enough potassium to feed 140,000 people their daily recommendations (Nutrient Reference Value) for an entire week; the equivalent of the entire population of Blackpool.
· Protein is the most wasted nutrient with 55 tonnes thrown in the bin every year.
· Fibre, commonly found in fruit and vegetables, is among the top binned food component with carrots being one of the most thrown away fibre providers, with every 80g portion of discarded carrots equates to 2.6g of fibre.
· Some 353million litres of milk also goes down the drain annually, losing essential calcium, crucial for bones and teeth.
The research was conducted by examining 20 of the most wasted food and drink items in Britain and establishing their nutritional benefits, using the official WRAP report June 2014 and Sainsbury’s internal research.
Sainsbury’s To The Rescue campaign is aiming to help customers manage their own food waste by giving ideas, inspiration and handy tips for helping food live longer, reducing food waste and saving a few pennies.
They’ve devised a super nifty app that gives you lots of recipe suggestions when you input what ingredients you need to use up before they go off.
I was heartened to find out Sainsbury’s is the only major UK supermarket to have a nationwide programme to take all leftover food from stores to charities around the UK. Food that can’t be sold in stores but is still fit to eat is given to Fareshare, and all surplus food from stores is either given to a local charity that can make use of it, such as FoodCycle which prepares fresh three course meals for communities, or turned into animal feed.
Don’t let it go off!
- Bread is easily stored in the freezer, so you can get it out a few slices at a time.
- Milk, again is fine to be frozen if you don’t think you’re going to use it before the sell-by date.
- Make sure potatoes are stored in a dark and cool place. Lakeland do some great sacks that prolong their life.
And to finish here’s a delicious recipe devised by Sainsbury’s for using up any leftovers you might be contemplating getting rid of…
Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves: 4 persons
Cooking Time 15 mins
Prep Time 15 mins
1 kilo potatoes (2lbs 4oz) 4–8 depending on size (or already baked)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (olive is ideal)
400g (14oz) mixed vegetables, chopped (e.g. leeks, mushrooms, peas)
75ml (2floz) milk
150g (5oz) cheese, grated
Good pinch salt
1. Wash potatoes, prick with a fork and bake for 1–1¼ hours 180ºC/Gas 6/ 400ºF, depending on the size. Cool a little, then cut in half. Without breaking the skins, scoop out the potato flesh and add to a bowl.
2. Meanwhile add oil to a pan and gently cook the vegetables without browning them. Mash the potato and mix in the milk, salt and pepper then stir in the cooked vegetables and half the cheese.
3. Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins, top with the remaining cheese, arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven 180ºC/Gas 6/400ºF for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
You can use any sized potatoes from bite size baby potatoes to large baking potatoes. The larger the potato the longer the cooking time.
Use up: Any leftover cooked vegetables like cabbage or broccoli can be mashed into the potato. Any cheese or cooked meats can also be added.
Variations: You can use basic ingredients like cheese and onion. Or create a gourmet feast and stuff your potatoes with anything from chicken curry to lobster or wild mushrooms.
Extra flavour: Add garlic, fresh herbs, smoked haddock. Add smoked ham or grain mustard. Try adding a teaspoon horseradish sauce or a teaspoon of pickle or curry paste.
Freezer advice: For best results, cool down quickly (ideally within an hour), divide into portions, place in an airtight container, label and then pop in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge, ideally overnight, and use within 24 hours after defrosting. Reheat in microwave or covered in foil in the oven, heating thoroughly until piping hot.
Vegetarian and vegan options: Ideal for a range of vegetarian fillings. Vegans can use a dairy-free cheese alternative or add a little olive oil and drizzle with a little more olive oil before baking.
Allergy advice: Can be made avoiding all allergens, either omit cheese or use a non-dairy alternative. Or simply add a little olive oil to the mixture and drizzle with a little more olive oil before baking.