Christmas food, Source: Linköping Municipality

Come Christmas let’s also spare some thoughts on food waste

Come Christmas let’s also spare some thoughts on food waste

Useful advice that can set us on a path of more responsible consumption

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And this joy often comes in the form of countless treats that weigh heavily on the festive tables. And what better way to put the ‘merry’ in Merry Christmas than with some eggnog, champagne or whichever drink is favoured in your family and culture?

The problem is that with more eating comes more wasted food since the reality is that no matter how much people can indulge, when it comes to holidays, they tend to buy more than they can consume. So, with that mind let’s look into some tips on turning the holiday season into a more responsible and sustainable season.

One benefit of responsible consumption – no post-holiday regrets

Did you know, for example, that in Sweden alone every person throws away some 19 kilos of food per year? And to make this worse, Sweden actually has one of the most responsible inhabitants in that respect. The reality is that in Europe and North America the per capita average of food waste is between 95 and 115 kilos per year! And much of this wasteful behaviour is generated around holidays which encourage greater consumption.

That is why it is perhaps wise to turn to a Swede for some useful advice. Åsa Kullberg is a business area manager for the Diets and Restaurants Department at the Linköping Municipality.

In her professional opinion, it is important to have a closer look at our own consumption habits. We should know by now whether we tend to throw food away. If we have noticed such a pattern, then the solution is simple – buy less at the grocery store.

Another approach we can borrow is the one used by the school cafeterias in Linköping. When there is left-over food that has not been served to students, it can serve as the ingredients for future meals and thus get repurposed into a sort of ‘culinary recycling’. In fact, many traditional recipes have their origins in such a practice and from a time when plentiful nutrition was less available. Think about hash browns, omelettes or scrambled eggs.

Some of the local school cafeterias are also paying attention to how much food gets thrown out at the end of the day and even weigh it, so that they will have a benchmark to work against. Others have added ‘taste spoons’, meaning placing extra spoons that can be used by students to sample a meal before deciding if they want to have it for lunch. If they like it there is a less chance that they will end up leaving it unfinished on the table later.

So, why not try these tips out and see if we can reduce our food waste. Hopefully it will become a new model of behaviour and you will not have to think of a New Year’s resolution.



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