September 9, 2008

Learn to Love Your Leftovers


ITH almost 220,000 whole loaves of bread still being thrown away each day, Beth Hart at Sainsbury's believes shoppers still have a lot to learn about how they use food.

The nutritional health manager says the most common items thrown away apart from bread are fruits and vegetables.

This is worrying because most Brits don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, which means they are throwing away what is best for them, she says.

"We found on average that men are eating 2.7 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day and women are eating 2.9, which is way below government guidelines," she says.

"Vegetables are packed with nutrients and we need them in our diet but at the moment they are being thrown away, which is a shame.

"We seem to have motivated people to buy fruit and vegetables, now we need to get them to eat it."

Beth believes there are ways to combine healthy eating and still limit the amount of food thrown away and the Sainsbury's Love Your Leftovers campaign hopes to teach customers about this.

She says: "Eating healthily and reducing the amount of food you waste can go hand in hand.

"The best way to do this is to cook food yourself and Sainsbury's is encouraging this. We started doing this with the Jamie Oliver campaign when we promoted recipes that were uncomplicated and so our customers responded well.

"Our Love your Leftovers campaign works in the same way because cooking is still at the heart of it and it is a very important way of limiting the amount of wasted food you produce.

"The key is to plan and to remember that if you are using your leftovers then it means you are saving money.

"Also if you are cooking from scratch you know what is in your food and you can use ingredients in a wiser way and feed your family in a better way."

SAINSBURY'S environment manager Alison Austin says the company is encouraging people to limit the amount of food they throw away by offering alternatives.

She says: "As a successful business we are dependant upon our customers and we want them to come back time and time again.

"This only happens if they are satisfied and they've been telling us they want to know how they can keep fruit and vegetables in good condition and how they can use it in a better way.

"It is about getting the most out of what they buy and it's about giving advice about cooking.

"We have found our customers like to cook but our job is to make it as convenient as possible."

Alison, right, says the best way for shoppers to get the most out of their food is to shop smart, store well and use leftovers imaginatively.

"Smarter shopping and thinking properly about what you are going to use is a good way to buy food," she says.

"Our research shows that shoppers in the Midlands tend to use their leftovers in curries and stir fries so as a region you are doing well.

"Smart shopping is all about buying the right kinds of quantities and not being seduced into buying in bulk if you don't need it.

"To help customers with this we try to offer both prepackaged and loose varieties of the same kinds of foods as it means if you are a single- person household, you can just pick up the amounts you actually need.

"You can get into a form of 'sleep things automatically without thinking about it, but we want to encourage people to change that kind of thinking."


Make good use of blenders, freezers and microwaves as they are good tools for transforming food in your kitchen.

Have a good stock of essentials like herbs and spices which will help to make meals more interesting.

Freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays and use them in casseroles, stews and spaghetti bolognese.

Don't mix up Use By and Best Before dates on food. A Use By date means a product should not be eaten after the date stated, whereas Best Before refers to the quality of the food and so most products can still be eaten.

Store fruit and vegetables in the fridge as it is a good way to preserve them.


THE Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.

It launched the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to tackle the amount of food being wasted in UK homes.

Sainsbury's Love Your Leftovers campaign is in support of this and is now providing storage advice for all the most popular fruit and vegetables, together with recipes tailored to fruit and vegetables that might be past their best.

For more details see or

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