Food waste is a huge global problem. According to Hans Herren, the President of the Millenium Institute, the world already produces enough calories and protein to feed everyone twice over. But the systems we have in place to produce food are based on maximising wealth rather than best fulfilling human needs. Reducing food waste can benefit your wallet as well as the world, so what can you do?
Plan before you shop.
If you just go to the shops and buy whatever catches your eye then you're bound to buy things that you don't need, or that you won't eat before they go off. So plan your week's meals before you go, and shop to that plan. Also try to go shopping just after a meal - it's much easier to keep your will power if you aren't hungry.
Check what's being thrown out.
Many large shops will have shelves for the produce that has been slightly damaged or is reaching its best before date. This stuff will be reduced in price, and will be thrown out if it isn't bought quickly, so always check those shelves. If there's something there that fits your list, and that you will eat while it's still good, then grab it. But be careful this doesn't turn into another excuse to impulse shop - if you won't get round to eating it then it's not a bargain!
Be careful how you store foods. If they need refrigerating then put them away as soon as you get home. Keep root vegetables such as potatoes in a cool dark place, and store bread in a cupboard.
If something's about to go off, but you're not planning on eating it, then it can probably go in the freezer. All sorts of fruit and vegetables can be successfully frozen, as can bread, and this will leave you with supplies in the house for when you need them.
Buy from eco-conscious producers.
Look for shops that source their produce locally or give expiring food away to charities. Consider getting fruit and vegetables from an organic box company, who will be careful to avoid food waste.
Get involved in campaigns.
Photo by jbloom via Flickr creative commons