I read somewhere the average American throws away 25% of their groceries. That’s due mostly to spoilage of meats, fruits, and vegetables. No way around it, that’s wasteful. It wastes money. No one likes to waste money. It wastes food. It wastes resources. It costs energy, money, and creates environmental impacts to grow food and raise livestock.
I also read, the most efficient way to grocery shop to avoid wasting food is to shop every 2 weeks and buy only what you’ll use in those two weeks, clearing your pantry and refrigerator during that time. It requires meal planning for two weeks at a time, which is a bit of a drag, but not so terrible as to prevent me from continuing.
So, I thought I’d give it a try. I thought maybe I’d save some money and help reduce the amount of food our family uses. Reduce, reuse, recycle, that’s my motto.
I’ve been doing it about 6 weeks now, and so far, so good. I’m still working through my pantry to get rid of some of those things I bought, used part of, and then crammed back into the pantry and forgot about.
So far, I’m noticing quite a few benefits to the new system. I am definitely throwing out less produce. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better.
I’m getting better at improvising my cooking. I get a CSA box every other week and I don’t know what I’ll be getting. I’m using a lot more of the box and cooking a little more spontaneously. I’m a cookbook kind of cook. If it’s in a cookbook, I can make it, but I don’t often just make something based on what ingredients I have on hand. I think that’s an improvement.
I’m spending less time in the grocery store. I used to go every week, now it’s every other week. That’s nice. We do need to get a few things still every week, milk, orange juice, bananas. I send Sean for those things. I like that, too.
We’re saving money. So far, we seem to be saving about 25% of our grocery bill. Funny how if you’re not wasting 25% of your groceries, you save about 25% of your grocery bill.
My pantry and freezer are less packed. They’re still packed at the beginning of the two weeks, and I still have some extra food I need to go through, but it’s much better.
The new system seems to be working out quite well. I can’t wait to get to the point where I have virtually an empty pantry at the end of two weeks.
How often do you grocery shop? How do you avoid wasting food?