Simple Ways To Reduce Food Waste - Taste Don’t Waste

1st March 2022

At Dale Farm, we recognise the growing issue of concern around food waste, and we believe that it is the responsibility of all of us to reduce it - starting at home.

Did you know that over 3.6 million tonnes of perfectly safe to eat food is wasted each year? That’s enough to fill up 25 million wheelie bins! Food waste has become an extremely critical issue that affects all of us, but it is something that we can all play a part in tackling by making some really simple, minor changes.

With many consumers becoming more and more interested in better organising and planning their food shops in order to minimise the food waste that ends up in household bins,as well as save money, we wanted to let you in on some of our simple and practical hints and tips to start reducing your household food waste from today onwards.

Why Do We Waste Food?

There are a number of reasons why we may waste food as consumers. Often misshapen, marked or discoloured fruit and vegetables don’t meet our standards and are thrown away. 20-40% of this kind of fruit and veg is thrown away before even leaving the farm.

In some countries, the greatest percentage of food waste comes from offcuts and food past their use-by dates being thrown away by both consumers and retailers.

And most commonly (we’re all guilty of this one) we often cook far too much food and our uneaten leftovers are put in the bin.

The best place to start making a difference at reducing food waste is at home. Take some time to consider how much food is wasted from your household each week, and if there are any small, sustainable changes you can make to reduce this.

Top Tips On How To Reduce Food Waste

Planning Is Key

Mindful shopping is a crucial element to cutting down on the amount of food waste we produce. By making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money, time and plan healthier and more nutritious meals for you and your family.

Some great tips to get started include:

  • Make a realistic shopping list around the meals you plan to eat at home that week. Make sure you account for any days you may eat out and only buy what you need.

  • Check your fridge and cupboard to avoid buying any ingredients that you already have at home.

  • Buy smaller quantities of fresh ingredients, but more often, so that you waste less and get to enjoy the benefits of fresher foods.

Check out our downloadable weekly meal planner to help you get started with mindful shopping.

Use Up Your Leftovers

If you find yourself regularly accumulating and throwing away leftovers, consider designating a day to use them up and incorporate it into your weekly meal plan. This is a great way to avoid throwing away food, and save money on buying more when you have pre prepared food in the fridge from the night or two before.

Another great way to use up your leftovers is to bring a packed lunch to work with you. Limit your food waste by having yesterday's leftovers for lunch instead of going out to lunch with your co-workers a few days a week.

If time is an issue for you in the mornings, you might consider freezing your leftovers in pre portioned containers that you can grab and go on your way out the door.

If you’re searching for delicious recipes to use up your leftovers, have a look at chef James Devine’s baked yorkie recipe, designed to help us reduce food waste in our homes by using up ingredients in the back of cupboards or in the bottom of the fridge.


Composting your unused leftovers or spoiled food means it can go back into the soil and contributes to creating a renewable source of energy.

If you’re unsure about how to get started with composting, check out how to get started at composting food at home., a great source of information from NI Direct. Many councils across the country also offer free or discounted compost bins, which is an added bonus.

Store food correctly

A big contributor to annual household food waste, is a lack of knowledge or understanding about how to properly store foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Incorrect storage can lead to them ripening prematurely or even rotting.

Foods that should never be refrigerated and should always be kept at room temperature include:

  • Potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Garlic

  • Cucumbers

  • Onions

Then there are foods that produce ethylene gas, which causes the foods around it to ripen and spoil faster. These foods should be kept separate from others, and include:

  • Bananas

  • Avocados

  • Tomatoes

  • Melons

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Green onions

Eat the skin

Very often, people will remove the skin from fruits and veg during meal preparation. There are actually many nutrients in the outer layer of produce, such as apple skins, that contain a large amount of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Chicken skin is another great example, packed full of nutrients such as vitamin A, B vitamins, protein and healthy fats.

The outer layers of potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, mangoes, kiwis, eggplants and so many more are also edible and nutritious.

Use by and best before dates

The ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates can be confusing terms and often lead to unnecessary food waste.

“Sell by” is used to inform retailers when the product should be sold or removed from the shelves. “Best by” is a suggested date that consumers should use their products by. These dates however are just estimates from the manufacturer to give you an idea of when the food is likely to go bad, but the ‘best by’ dates do not need to be strictly followed.

Remember tips and tricks for testing the usability of your produce. Such as, checking if your eggs sink or float. If they sink to the bottom of a glass of water, they are still fresh and good to eat. If they float, that’s when they should be disposed of or composted.

A great tip for saving money and reducing food waste is to shop in the reduced aisle of your supermarket. Keep an eye out for the yellow stickers on items that are past their sell by, or just before their use by dates.

Also have a look at companies such as Too Good to Go, an app that allows you to buy food from your favourite local cafes and restaurants for a cheaper price, so that it gets eaten instead of wasted.

Or Gander, a local app that connects you directly to reduced and yellow stickered food sitting on the shelves of your local store.

Dale Farm supports Fareshare’s Mission

FareShare is a national network of 18 independent organisations who redistribute surplus supplies of food across the food industry, providing good quality food to more than 10,5000 frontline charities and community groups in need. Dale Farm has been providing fresh milk and butter, straight from production lines to FareShare, for redistribution into local communities every week since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

The food redistributed by FareShare is always nutritious and good to eat, reaching charities, schools and community clubs across the uk. Every week they provide enough food to prepare almost one million meals for vulnerable people in need.

Co-founded in the early 1990’s by homeless charity Crisis and Sainsburys, FareShare strongly believe that no good food should go to waste, especially when there are people going hungry. Fast forward to 2022, FareShare is now the UK’s longest running food redistribution charity, having provided food to 10,542 charities and community groups, and 1,108,064 people in the last year alone.

Every £1 donated can provide up to four meals for a child in need. The current demand for food has skyrocketed, particularly within frontline organisations who provide food to children and their families in need. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic placing thousands of people into times of financial hardship, many more people are struggling to put food on the table than ever before.

How You Can Help

You can help join us to taste don’t waste by taking onboard these tips and tricks in your daily life, so that we’re all doing our bit to help reduce food waste and help society and the environment.

Don’t forget you can get started today by downloading our weekly meal planner here!

To further help FareSharedeliver healthy, nutritious food to food banks, community groups, activity schemes and schools supporting the most vulnerable children in the UK, you can donate or inquire about volunteering here.

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