An article from food & beer expert, writer and broadcaster Richard Fox.

 

Richard Fox

Richard Fox, an Ambassador for Love Food Hate Waste 

Making food waste profitable 

They say charity begins at home, and with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign having recently gained charitable status, I think this is an appropriate place to start when addressing this red hot potato of food issues. I have been cooking and writing on this subject now for several years and in that time I have addressed all sectors from university academics to catering industry professionals and literally, the man in the street. I am convinced that, if we can understand the problem as it manifests itself in our home, we are in a far better place to address it in our respective business environments. Whether this is in dishes we produce, or helping our grocery customers by advising them how to make their purchases go further.


The bottom line is, we throw away around 20% of the food we buy – so for every five bags of shopping, that’s one heading straight into the bin. And yet the majority of this waste is entirely avoidable. By far the biggest culprits are fruit, veg and salad. We’ve all done it – that whole head of broccoli with its delicate outer buds turned a muddy yellow is just not going to cut it next to the salmon fillet and hollandaise sauce. And then there’s the head of celery slowly but surely leeching out of its open-ended bag onto the back of the fridge drawer behind the bagged salad - Incidentally, two thirds of bagged salad bought by the consumer winds up in the bin. As if this wanton throwing away of what ought to be regarded as a precious commodity isn’t bad enough simply on moral grounds, its making quite a dent in the household coffers: three hundred and fifty pounds a year to be precise.


Salivation however is at hand. A simple combination of mind set switching with a sound bite understanding of the principal of enzyme activity, and any sinner can be turned to saint. On the mental front then, consider this: Do you bin that ten or twenty pence piece you find under the sofa cushion? An absurd concept isn’t it? My hallway change jar offers a quarterly return flight to Europe.


Start thinking of that tired old veg and salad as just that – random bits of small change, and see how the waste goes down. A far as the chemistry goes, that yellowing of the broccoli buds, blotching and bendiness of the carrots and wilting of the salad leaves is the result of enzyme activity which is actually killed off when the food is cooked. If that broccoli is blanched and refreshed - or better still, made into a delicious little salmon and broccoli quiche – it will stay green, tasty and fresh for another couple of days. If those carrots are cooked and blended, a delicious homemade carrot and coriander soup is waiting to be savoured. And finally, imagine that bag of about-to-wilt rocket blitzed with some pecorino, olive oil and garlic into a luscious pesto to last for days in pristine condition, and you can start to construct a picture of how the random waste in your retail business can transform into healthy profit.

 

Richard will be hosting the Farm Shop & Deli Show’s live events programme taking place at the NEC Birmingham, 24 – 26 April 2017.

 

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Take a look at our other FEAST articles here.