Shop smarter

Avoid food waste by buying only what you will eat and storing it correctly. Checking food cupboards at home, writing a shopping list and avoiding shopping whilst hungry are great ways to shop smarter.


According to WRAP, the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food a year, worth nearly £13 billion! An estimated 70% of this food could have been eaten.

As well as diverting good food from people in need, throwing away food wastes natural resources and contributes to climate change. This includes emissions generated from producing, transporting and refrigerating food, only for it to be wasted.

Food waste that ends up in landfill instead of being recycled releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes further to climate change.

Avoiding food waste by buying only what you need can reduce your food footprint considerably.



Check your fridge and cupboards, plan your meals and make a list before you shop. Avoid shopping hungry and buy only what you need – cut-price or two-for-one deals often end up in the bin! Shop little and often if you can to avoid wastage and keep food fresh.


Put food in the fridge or freezer as soon as you get it home. Check out this video from Food Unfolded on how to freeze six common foods. Store new items at the back of the fridge or freezer to ensure older items are used first.

Check the temperature of your fridge with a thermometer. Under 5 degrees Centigrade is recommended to keep food fresher for longer.

Use airtight containers to keep food at its best. Food Huggers and similar silicone, airtight seals are also great for keeping those odds and ends fresh until you need them.

Know your date labels:

  • ‘Use by’ dates are for food safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on the packaging.
  • ‘Best before’ dates refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a ’best before’ date should be safe to eat after the ’best before’ date, but they may no longer be at their best.
  • Ignore ‘display until’ and ‘sell by’ dates – these are for shop staff to manage stock rotation.
  • To extend the life of food, freeze it before the ’use by’ date. After defrosting, use it within 24 hours.

More information

Check out Love Food Hate Waste Opens for food waste reducing recipes and tips.

Find out more from Food Unfolded about how to avoid food waste.

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