With the average East Anglian family wasting £810 of edible food per year, a pioneering campaign has been launched to help combat the issue of food waste in the region.
Norfolk and Suffolk councils have joined forces with environmental charity Hubbub to launch Food Savvy, a campaign that aims to take significant steps towards cutting food waste across both counties. The initial stage will run for two years and then Food Savvy’s most successful elements will be scaled up to meet the seven-year target of reducing food waste by 20% by 2025 in line with national framework, the Courtauld Commitment and the global Sustainable Development Goals.
The campaign marks the first time Norfolk and Suffolk councils have come together on a food initiative of this scale and its ambitious vision puts the region at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to combat food waste. Food Savvy’s uniqueness also lies in the way it will bring together an entire cross section of the community to tackle the issue, involving businesses, schools, community groups, as well as influencers like chefs, food celebrities, lifestyle bloggers and vloggers.
Kicking off this week, Food Savvy will include a range of exciting activities and programmes designed to raise awareness of the impact of food waste and give people the tools they need to make a difference.
A taster of the initiatives to come over the next two years:
- Seasonal food waste campaigns to help households save during peak times of waste. Activities will include Halloween-themed Pumpkin Rescue, community cooking programme Kitchen Love in collaboration with NEFF, Christmas campaign Festive Freeze and pre-holiday food saving campaign Travellers Check. These seasonal campaigns will use peak times of wastage throughout the year and fun hooks to talk about food waste year–round.
- Entertaining educational initiatives focused on key behaviours relating to waste, such as date label confusion and food storage dos and don’ts.
- Fun, family-friendly events centred on specific highly wasted items and showcasing the counties’ food producing heritage.
- Food Savvy challenge where residents will be encouraged to save £70 a month by preventing food waste.
- Innovative trials with householders, bloggers and vloggers.
- Cross curricular school resources to help educate young people on food wastage.
- Employee engagement campaigns to spur workplace involvement.
To find out more and get involved in Food Savvy people can visit www.foodsavvy.org.uk and follow #FoodSavvy on social media. While the campaign is initially launching in Norfolk and Suffolk, how-to guides will be created so other UK counties can create and scale their own campaigns.
It is expected Food Savvy will strike a chord with East Anglian residents. A recent poll of those in Norfolk and Suffolk showed the majority (86%) are worried by food waste and 53% admit they feel guilty when they throw away food. A further 39% say they’d like help reducing the amount they waste.
Quick tips for households wanting to cut food waste straight away, based on habits revealed in the poll:
- Plan ahead – more than six in 10 residents don’t plan their meals before shopping. Take a moment to think about the week ahead and when you’ll be eating at home. Plan a couple of meals ahead, make a shopping list and buy only what you need.
- Check your fridge – 30% don’t look in the fridge before shopping. Give your fridge the once over before you get groceries to ensure you don’t double up.
- Store food carefully – 31% don’t store potatoes in a cool, dark place, meaning they go off quicker. Research how to store fresh items to keep them at their best.
- Make the most of your leftovers – Four in 10 East Anglian residents love banana bread, a great way to use up over-ripe fruit. If you cook too much or can’t finish a meal, pack it for lunch. Even if you’re eating out, ask for a ‘doggy bag’.
- Love your freezer – many residents don’t realise that popular fridge staples can be frozen – for instance, 41% have never frozen milk and 46% didn’t know it’s possible to freeze cheese. If you cook too much or forget to eat something near its use by date, chances are you can freeze it and eat it later.
Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub said: “The impact food waste has on average family budgets is incredible. It’s also costing councils millions and is bad news for the environment. We hope that by showing people the impact of food waste and helping them to make a positive change, the campaign will benefit not only the community and the wider environment but individual’s own pockets, too. We’re not talking about massive lifestyle changes – small changes really can make a big difference.”
Martin Wilby, of Norfolk’s Environment Transport and Development Committee said: “After the success of our own county–wide food waste initiative Plan Eat Save which launched in 2016, we’re aware that people’s interest in reducing food waste is growing. We’re delighted to be partnering with Suffolk Councils and Hubbub so we can build further on this initiative and encourage even more people to be smarter with their food and help cut waste across the whole region.”
Cllr David Bowman, Chair of the Suffolk Waste Partnership said: “Suffolk households throw away a staggering 50,000 tonnes of food every year. As a rural county producing many delicious foods and drinks, this is terrible wastage and something we must tackle. We are therefore thrilled to be launching this collaborative project with Hubbub and our colleagues at Norfolk County Council. We are also inviting local people, community groups and businesses to join us on this innovative journey that will help save families money and protect our beautiful region.”