29 December 2009

Reducing Food Waste

Consumers in the U.S. throw away enormous amounts of perfectly good food each year, looking for ways of reducing food waste could save a very large amount of money. According to a recent University of Arizona study, an average family could save up to $500 each year just by reducing spoilage, waste and trips to the supermarket, and that’s on fruits and vegetables alone! We are not the only wasteful nation; in Britain about one third of all the food purchased ends up being thrown away.

Food prices in the U.S. are rising at an alarming rate and according to a Labor Department report prices for staples such as milk, bread, flour and eggs are rising sharply, surging in the past year at double-digit rates. Egg prices for example, jumped 40 percent and milk prices increased 26 percent during the year. The Boston Globe says that escalating food costs could present a greater problem than rising oil prices because the average household spends three times as much on food as it does on gasoline.

We can all take steps to reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfills and incinerator sites and save money at the same time. Below are some tips that will help to reduce the size of the food waste mountain:

Always store foods in the refrigerator or the freezer at the right temperature; keeping your refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below will help keep food fresher for longer. It is important to maintain a freezer temperature of 0 degrees F or below in order for food to freeze properly and to stop or prevent bacteria from growing. The most perishable items, including meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, should be stored in the coldest sections of the refrigerator. Don’t over crowd the refrigerator since this will lower the inside temperature and air needs to be able to circulate freely to cool foods properly.

Store refrigerated foods in airtight plastic wraps or containers to maintain the quality, this also helps to keep foods from drying out, and preventing odors or flavors from transferring from one food to another. Make sure to avoid using containers or plastic bags that are not made for storage, and do not reuse plastic bags.

Keep the refrigerator clean, spoiled foods and spills provide an environment for bacteria to grow in and possibly contaminate other foods. Remember that refrigerator temperatures do not prevent bacterial growth, they only slow it down.

Plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list, this way you will be more inclined to only buy what you need, instead of buying on impulse.

Don’t throw leftovers away, refrigerate them so that they can be used to make another meal later in the week, and remember one can always be creative with leftover food!

Keep a close eye on use-by dates and make sure to prepare food before its expiration date, this can eliminate a great deal of waste.

Storage conditions in the pantry should be dark, cool and dry with a temperature between 50 to 70 degrees F, the higher the temperature the faster the deterioration. The pantry should be as far away from the oven, stove, water heater and dishwasher as possible.

These tips will help you to save hundreds of dollars per year by reducing food waste. You could save even more money by using an incredible breakthrough in food preservation called eggstrafresh®, it is scientifically proven to increase the shelf life of almost all foods, and eggstrafresh® will improve the flavor, taste, natural color and texture of your foods. To find out more about reducing food waste, just visit http://www.eggstrafresh.com.

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