Knowing what food you need to buy will help you to waste less food.
The simple act of keeping track of food items as they run out, stock-checking your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you shop and recording what food you need can have a big impact on how much food you buy and importantly, how much food you waste.
Plan now, save later!
According to our 2021 National Food Waste Attitudes survey results, one of the key generators of food waste was a lack of planning. On the plus side, almost half (47%) of respondents report that they plan meals ahead for the week and many are taking positive steps to help plan more, such as checking what food they already have or writing a shopping list.
So how much do you plan your meals for the week ahead? A lot? A little? Not at all? Find out what kind of planner you are.
Investing a little time in food planning can:
- Save you money – by keeping you focused on buying what you need and plan to eat.
- Save you time – by not shopping for food items you don’t need, or even saving you a visit to the shops altogether!
- Make you feel more organised – by taking away the stress of wondering what to have for your next meal and working out whether you have the food items to prepare it.
Find out more about how to plan ahead and avoid food waste with our handy Pocket Guide.
3 Steps to ‘Know what you need’
- Keep a running tally of food as it runs out.
Record food items you need on your phone, on a blackboard in the kitchen, a list pinned to the fridge door, or by telling a virtual assistant device (“Hey Alexa!”) – whatever works best for you and your household. If you’re in a shared house, you could set up a dedicated Whatsapp group chat to keep track of any shared food items that need to be replaced.
- Do a stocktake of what you have already.
A quick check of your fridge, freezer and cupboards will remind you of the hidden food treasure you have already and don’t need to buy. It might also remind you what perishable food you need to use before it goes off – always a good place to start when planning your next meal or two!
- Record what you need & plan your shop.
If you’ve been keeping track of what food items have run out, you should be well-prepared to make a list of what to buy. Whether you prefer the notes app on your phone or a physical list in your hand, plan your shop to save time, money and stress!
Don’t forget to pay attention to any food that goes to waste day-to-day too! If you notice one item going to waste more often, you can plan to buy less of it next time or pop it in the freezer to save for another time! If you want to keep track of your food waste for a week or more or to learn about your own food waste habits, check out our Weekly Food Waste Sheet.