As we wave goodbye to the festive season, British bins will be overflowing with an estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings, according to Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste.
With a Christmas food bill averaging £1692 per household and over a third of us admitting to throwing away more food over the festive season than at any other time of year, Unilever has partnered with Love Food Hate Waste to help 12 families across the UK to cut down on their food waste this New Year, once the festivities are over.
The families are taking part in the Unilever Sustain Ability Challenge where they are being challenged to reduce the amount of food they throw away by a quarter and to cut their grocery bills by 15 per cent.
The average weekly grocery bill has risen by £5.60 since last year and disposable incomes are currently under pressure.
Seven out of ten adults believe that it costs more to lead a sustainable lifestyle so by challenging the 12 families to throw away less food, Unilever aims to bust this myth and prove that it in fact can help them save money.
As 62 per cent of adults say a lack of knowledge about what they can do to live more sustainably prevents them from living a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle, Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste are sharing advice and recipes with households across the UK to help them make the most of leftovers and store food cleverly once the festive celebrations are over.
Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste have worked closely to pull together 12 simple ways to reduce the amount of food being thrown away at such a wasteful time of year because it is not only detrimental to our wallets, it is bad for the environment too.
The tips aim to help people save on their grocery bill by planning carefully, storing food sensibly and cooking cleverly, to help out during the difficult January budget squeeze.
12 top tips to help you save more and waste less this New Year from Unilever and Love Food Hate Waste -
1. Left with too much stilton cheese once the festivities are over? Did you know that it freezes well and last for ages in the freezer? Defrost it in the New Year for the cheese board, a quiche or soup.
2. Cooked meat like turkey and ham can be frozen so if after New Year’s Day you have lots left over, pop it in the freezer and then thaw it in the fridge when you fancy making a casserole, curry, stew or ham, turkey and leek pie.
3. Sick of Christmas pudding and still got some left over? Try turning it into a tasty strudel.
4. Loads of sprouts that you can’t get rid of? Use them with leftover roast or boiled potatoes to make bubble and squeak. Simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.
5. Bought too much mincemeat? Heat a small amount in a pan and spoon over ice-cream for a New Year’s alternative to Christmas pudding.
6. Use up satsumas with this quick pudding. Peel and place the whole fruits in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon, spoon over a tablespoon of Cointreau or whisky and sprinkle with soft brown sugar. Cover and bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 40 minutes serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.
7. If you have leftover turkey and cranberries, this is a great way to spruce up a sandwich. Put leftover turkey in blender, add 3 teaspoons of cranberries and mayonnaise to mix. Use for sandwich fillings or as a dip.
8. Get ahead of the New Year’s Day food preparation by preparing roast potatoes and parsnips. Just parboil them, cover them in fat and freeze them. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags, seal, label and return to the freezer.
9. Leftover Christmas fruitcake you don’t know what to do with? Add a spot of mayonnaise, custard and Flora, along with a sprinkling of sugar, to make a delicious fruity bread pudding.
10. Once a cheese packet is opened that you know won't be used right away, grate the cheese and put it in the freezer: it keeps longer and is ready to use for cooking when you need it.
11. Need some nibbles for that New Year drinks party? Make these spicy nuts out of any half opened packets of nuts. Take a mixture of brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and put them in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over ½ tsp each of cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper and 2 tsp caster sugar. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake for 15 min. Cool before storing in air tight jars or tupperware containers.They will keep fresh in a screw top jar until the big day.
12. Have a rummage around your kitchen cupboards; you might be surprised that you can make free foodie gifts from packets of sea salt and sugar. To make spicy salt, add a few dried chillies, red peppercorns and star anise to the sea salt and put into a nice jar and decorate with ribbons. For spicy sugar, add cinnamon sticks to a jar of coffee sugar and dress up in a pretty jar.
Nora Costello, brand building director, Unilever UK and Ireland says, “We live in a time of economic uncertainty and it’s a fact of life that most people in the UK have less money to spend. Although weekly household budgets have been falling, people’s aspirations haven’t fallen with them and they still want to have a great Christmas and New Year.
“We want to help people to do this and Unilever is supporting 12 families across the UK to test practical ways to adapt their daily routines in order to reduce their impact on the environment and cut their household bills.
“We’re sharing our tips to help households as the festive season can be an excessive time of year- it’s really easy to buy too much food, cook too much and thoughtlessly throw it away when it goes off or doesn’t get eaten. We hope that we can help people to learn to waste less this year, and in turn to make a difference to their wallets and to the environment.”
Kathy Cope is a 39 year old mother of two who lives in Woolton Village, Liverpool and she is taking part in Unilever’s Sustain Ability Challenge. She says, “Christmas is definitely the most wasteful time of year for us. I overbuy because I want everything to be perfect. It’s hard to get portions right and I don’t want to appear stingy so I always cook far too much.
“Now that I’m taking part in the Unilever Sustain Ability Challenge, the thought of throwing lots of food away after Christmas this year fills me with dread as I’m really conscious of the amount of money it means I am wasting, plus it’s so bad for the environment. If I can save a bit of extra cash this festive season there’ll be more of it to spend in the January sales so I’ve been doing my best!”
Cara Mason @FemaleFirst_UK