When you think about food waste, you might think about the food leftover on your plate, the mouldy cheese you forgot you had in the fridge or the batch-cooked soup you failed to get through. But do you think about the waste that happens long before it gets to your plate?
Food waste is a huge issue in today’s world of mega supply chains, where food is increasingly produced further away from the people that actually eat it.
A lot of this waste is actually perfectly edible food that doesn’t even reach the shop (let alone your shopping baskets) due to oversupply or not meeting strict requirements. The fear of having no stock on shelves leads to excessive demand forecasting, while damage to produce during long transport routes and storage are also key causes. The latter alone are said to produce 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes of waste a year.
How Farmdrop does things differently
At Farmdrop, we have been able to keep food waste to a minimum because of our producers’ commitment towards innovation and the software we have developed for them. It’s complicated stuff but because of the ‘Producers’ Portal’ we’ve designed, farmers can see all the customer orders in real-time which means that every item of fresh produce that we pack has already been ordered by a customer. That means ultra-fresh produce for you and much less food waste all round.
What can you do to help cut food waste?
Food supply chains are complex things and as consumers our buying choices can have a knock-on impact without us even being aware of it. Supporting the farmers, fishermen and producers who are cutting waste right at the source can really help.
Here are six ways you can help to cut food waste long before it gets to your door.
1. Celebrate wonky veg
Up to 40% of fruit and vegetables grown in the UK ends up getting ploughed back into the field or thrown into landfill. Why? This perfectly edible produce is seen as too misshapen, wonky or ‘ugly’ to meet the strict cosmetic standards of some of the UK’s major retailers. At Farmdrop, we sell fruit and vegetables just as they are when pulled out of the ground. Our carrots might be a little bent and our potatoes a little muddy but we believe that what matters is not how they look, but how they taste. And we think that matters to you too.
2. Nose to tail: get your offcuts!
Each time a meal of four chicken breasts is made, there are two chicken carcasses left in need of a home. The same goes for all sorts of offal and animal bones, which are often discarded in mainstream supply chains. Carcasses and bones can be turned into a tasty stock (pictured), while chicken giblets, like the liver, kidneys and neck are all wonderfully nutritious and delicious. Rather than chuck them away, our farmers sell them at a cut price so you can make the most of all that flavour and nutrition, and fight food waste in the process.
3. Your daily bread
To help our incredible Bread Bread bakery use up all their loaves each day, you can buy their Bread Bread Lucky Dip loaf at a cut price. You’ll get a surprise loaf that won’t end up in the bin – perfect for your morning toast or easily frozen for that last minute emergency.
4. Make a pullet egg omelette
Pullet eggs are the first eggs laid by hens at about 18 weeks of age. Supermarkets don’t sell them because they’re too small (see the size difference in this picture between regular and pullet eggs). Farmers often have no choice but to chuck them even though they’re just as nutritious and delicious as normal sized eggs. When it’s the season, our farmers sell them via Farmdrop at a cheaper cost.
5. Choose kid goat: the sustainable meat we forgot to eat
Just Kidding are the incredible free-range goat farmers who intercept male kid goats from the dairy industry that would otherwise be slaughtered at birth. Billy kids don’t produce milk so are surplus to dairy farmers’ needs. Instead, Lizzie Dyer who heads up Just Kidding spotted potential in the waste of what could be well-reared, delicious meat. She now rears a small flock of free-range, pasture-fed billy goats, slaughtered humanely and sold via Farmdrop.
6. Remember Britain’s forgotten fish
Sole of Discretion are the ethical fishing collective who are finding a way to sell the tasty, underrated fish (such as pollack, dogfish and pout) that we’re not used to buying. These fish would normally be exported, sold as bait or discarded back into the ocean, simply because they’re not the trendy fish, like cod, salmon and tuna, that we’re used to buying. At the time of writing, Caroline, who heads up the collective emailed in to say they’re just in the process of cutting up pollack to turn into Farmdrop’s tasty fish pie mix. And there’s plenty more forgotten fish available too.