Game Changing Insight From Andrew Zimmern About Reducing Food Waste In Your Household

Each year, nearly 40 percent of all food in America is wasted. According to Feeding America, 39 percent of all

Andrew Zimmern

Each year, nearly 40 percent of all food in America is wasted. According to Feeding America, 39 percent of all food waste happens in our homes which equals about 42 billion pounds. Commercial food is the other 61 percent of wasted food – about 66 billion pounds. And, while we might have no control over that 61 percent, we can get a handle on 42 billion pounds of food going to waste in our homes.

Back in 2021, Andrew Zimmern partnered with the grocery store chain Aldi to raise awareness about America’s issue with food waste and steps we can take towards reducing it. Join Tyler and I as we follow Zimmern’s three steps towards reducing food waste in our home.

[Fridge] Size Matters

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“The American refrigerators are so big they’re built on American convenience culture. They want us to shop once a week and then when ‘mealus interruptus’ happens, and it happens to everyone, we wind up throwing out food on Sunday that we bought the Monday beforehand,” Zimmern explained to Southern Living. His fix to this? Purchase a smaller fridge or simply shrink yours down by removing a shelf or two.

Zimmern added, “Meal planning is really important, but even more important is to shrink your fridge. I bought a small European refrigerator, and it was the best thing I ever did.”

Keep Track Of The Food You Throw Out

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We’re typically told to keep track of the food we consume however, Zimmern has an opposite approach. Instead, write down all of the food that you throw out each day. “Even if it’s that bag that holds the bunches of grapes and there’s a cup of loosies at the bottom and they’re just bruised and rotted, write that down. At the end of the two weeks, you’ll see the patterns,” said Zimmern.

Zimmern recalled a story, “I have a friend that wastes a lot of food, and fascinatingly I got him to write everything down. There was one item that every night was on his list, and it just said, ‘half a salad bowl.’ I asked him about it and was like, ‘what do you mean like your own bowl of salad?’ He was like, ‘you know there’s five people in our family, we like a big salad every night, we have this big salad bowl. We cut all this lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrots, and then we throw it in there, and we dress it with oil and vinegar and lemon juice, everyone’s favorite dressing, a little bit of salt, herbs, and mustard and made this great vinaigrette. We only eat half of it, and then it’s wilted by the time we clear the table, and we throw it away.'”

“I said ‘don’t throw it away, put it in a bag or a container, and the next morning instead of having pancakes one or two people can have a healthy blended salad as all or part of their breakfast.You won’t throw it away and save a meal or two every day depending on the size.’

If you’re already aware of being a chronic fruit tosser, learn ways to repurpose those items. “Before it gets bruised and rotten, and you throw it away, do what we do for bananas with banana bread, throw it in the freezer. Then roast it, turn it into sauces, purée it, turn it into freezer jams, but if you don’t write it down you won’t know what your trends are,” shared Zimmern.

“First In, First Out”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Zimmern advises you to stop overstocking your pantry. If you purchase an ingredient for a specific recipe, make sure to use it more than just that one time.

“People wind up buying so many things they don’t need or are only going to need once, and then they forget to use it up. A great example is someone will decide that they want to make some wonderful Thai dish, and they’ll buy some sweet Thai sticky rice, and they soak it overnight, and they steam it for a couple of hours, and it’s wonderful and then that rice just sits on the shelf for two years,” shared Zimmern.

He emphasizes the FIFO principle – “first in, first out.” Basically, using everything that is opened before opening something else that’s similar. For example, that Thai sticky rice from above. If you open it and use it for one recipe, continue to use it [and finish it] before opening another bag of rice (even if it’s a different type).

Try out these tips for the next month and see how much food waste you can cut down in your household! We’re excited to try it ourselves.