We’re wasting $520 a year on fruit and vege’

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an Auckland mum spills the beans

Ever wondered who actually wastes the most food? You might think it’s supermarkets, restaurants to blame – and sure, they do throw away a lot of food.

But back up the truck. Because the biggest food wasters are you, me and our family – yes households account for a whopping 44%, according to a survey done by the Global Food Innovation Summit.

Meet Lotte. She’s an Auckland mum to two lively kids, aged 7 and 4, and when she’s not tending to her children’s needs, she helps her husband run their construction business. Lotte’s pretty sharp when it comes to budgeting: she loves cooking, makes her own preserves, bakes cakes… But even she admits she’s guilty of wasting food – particularly fruit and vegetables.

So how much do you spend on fruit and vege every week, Lotte? How do you decide what to buy?

Probably about $70… I don’t have a shopping list but I have a vague idea of about 4 or 5 meals I’m going to make through the week so I buy vege for that accordingly. The kids love fruit and we always have a large bowl on the breakfast bar – bananas, mandarins, apples – for them to help themselves. They also like fruit in their lunchboxes. I guess, like most people, I buy what’s in season, and work around that.

Where and how do you shop?  

Online mainly – it’s easier, as I have all my favourites already saved. We get our meat from the butcher’s though. In a perfect world we’d skip down to a market every day and buy fresh – my husband would love that. But that  isn’t going to happen as I’m the one who does the shopping, not him! I do tend to buy bulk – for example, it works out cheaper online to buy a big bag of carrots, potatoes, onions.

Do your fruit and vegetables stay as fresh as you’d like through the week?

No… Mandarins go off really fast, they often get mouldy. And bananas go spotty and brown then no one wants them – same with pears. Avocados are just awful when they go off too – it’s so disappointing to cut into one to find it’s turned all brown and stringy. The broccoli heads often go brown, beans and courgettes get slimy. I often buy a big bag of coriander but we often end up throwing half a bag of that away too as there’s only so much you can do with coriander, right?

So let’s be honest. What do you waste every week – and how much is it costing you?

Yeah, well, the kids’ lunch boxes often come home with uneaten cucumber slices, carrot sticks, slices of apples (funnily enough, they’ll always eat a peeled orange!)… so those go in the bin… floury apples, mouldy bananas, limp celery, bunches of herbs that I bought at the supermarket and didn’t get round to using… Then there are those bulk bags of carrots that although on paper might seem cheaper, they’re not because we simply can’t eat that many carrots! I’d say we easily waste about $10 of fruit and vege every week.

That’s $520 you’re wasting every year on fruit and vege, Lotte…

Hmmm, that’s a nice outfit, new makeup, heck it’s a deposit on a family trip to Fiji!

Read the next blog to see what Lotte is doing to stop wasting fruit and vege every week…

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