From ziplocks on cheese packs to breathable fruit and veg bags, the packaging food comes in has been cleverly designed with all sorts of cunning features for keeping food fresh.
So when you get your food home, keep it in its original packaging and follow on pack instructions to keep food at its best. If you buy your fruit and veg loose they can also last longer if stored properly in a bag that is lightly tied in the fridge.
Eight ways packaging helps reduce the amount of good food we throw away in our homes –
1. Loads of people don’t realise fruit and veg, like carrots, peppers and apples, are best kept in the bag they come in as it keeps it fresher for longer. A shrink-wrapped cucumber for example will last around five times longer than a non-shrink-wrapped one.
2. Resealable packs for cheese prevent it drying out, particularly important in the fridge. If your cheese of choice doesn’t have a resealable pack, make sure you wrap it well in clingfilm, foil or in a plastic tub
3. Lots of food comes in clever packs that are subdivided, so that you can use some now, some later. Look out for salads, sliced meats, and bakery products such as part-baked baguettes like this.
4. Smaller packs of bread (which still have the same size slices) are great if you’re not going to eat a big loaf before it goes off. If you do buy a big loaf why not freeze half and toast straight from frozen?
5. The air inside plastic containers (such as bags of salad) is often modified to keep it fresher for longer in your fridge and slow down decomposition, giving us longer to eat it. Magical!
6. Design bods have been busy designing all sorts of nifty tricks including vacuum-packing and shrink-wrapping, which can now keep meat fresher for twice as long.
7. Food packaging also helps protect fruit and veg from bruising in transit and storage so you can get a perfect peach, for example, without bruising, cutting down food waste.
8. Packaging doesn’t just protect our food in the supermarket, in transit and in the home, it also houses lots of handy information on how to store it, how much to cook, when it should be eaten to enjoy at its best and whether it can be frozen, which all help us reduce the amount of good food we throw away.
Best Before – These 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.
Use-by – These dates refer to 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 packs
Display Until & Sell By – You can ignore these dates as they are for shop staff not for shoppers.
Did you know?
– To extend the life of food beyond its date, freeze it before the date and defrost and use within 24 hours.
– Providing eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date.
For more information on food storage go to www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.