Watch above: A major issue facing Canadians is food waste. Brooke Bulloch from Food to Fit explains that there is not only a financial cost, there is an environmental cost.
SASKATOON – Canadians throw away a staggering amount of food – an estimated $13.4 billion a year, according to the Value Chain Management Centre. That works out to about $384 per person annually.
“I don’t think people do this intentionally… but consumers are by far the largest contributors of food waste,” said Brooke Bulloch, a registered dietitian with Food To Fit.
Bulloch told Global News that it doesn’t have to be that way. She says by having a better idea of what food you have in the house and being careful while doing things like bulk buying, people can help reduce the amount of food wasted.
One area of confusion she says, are the expiry dates on many foods. Bulloch says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has made it clear that expiration dates don’t necessarily mean the food cannot be eaten anymore.
“They are there to tell us when they retain their freshness and nutritional value and taste. So, it’s not really how safe they food is to eat, it’s more about quality,” said Bulloch.
She said consumers should apply common sense rules to judge when cuisine is still safe to eat by looking at things like colour, smell, appearance and by practicing food safe techniques.
Another tip is shopping with a list to control what you purchase and stay on top of foods stashed away in freezers and cupboards by keeping an inventory.
“How many of us have deep freezers and every now and then we come across some meat, it’s freezer burned, it’s poor quality and we’re going to pitch it,” said Bulloch.
“We need to be more responsible and more aware,” by controlling bulk buying.
“Watch the bulk buying, especially perishable items. This is big these days but have a plan, if you’re going to buy a case of peppers, have a plan for using that,” she said.
Leftovers are another source of food waste.
“Save those leftovers, package them up so they’re easy to take for lunches or quick suppers, when we’ve got lots going on in the evenings,” she said.
Bulloch advises trying to use as much of the produce you buy as possible.
“When it is starting to go ripe, cut them up, any fruits can be frozen, use them later in baking, in smoothies … we even use the ends of our produce that won’t go into the recipe, we save it in a Ziploc and put it in our freezer and once a month we make a soup stock out of that,” she said.