Saturday, 12 January 2013

Waste not want not! - Decant

 Looks awful!

In the news this week there was the results of a survey which reported that 50% of the food produced is thrown away. The reasons cited:-

1. Sell by dates
2. Appearance
3. Fussiness
4. Too much prepared for meals
5. Bulk offers

Now if you consider the vast numbers of hungry people in the world the above is nothing short of a crime against humanity. The first two points are firmly in the hands of the 'nanny state' and supermarkets and are fixable in the relatively short term. I am sure that supermarkets artificially manipulate sell by dates to keep their stock turning over and government can do something about that through the Food Standards Agency. The appearance of fresh fruit and vegetables is enough for them to be thrown away by supermarkets. I consider this frankly disgraceful. Perfectly good food thrown because it is not not aesthetically pleasing. Then there are bulk offers where people buy huge quantities which they end up not eating. Many of the decisions made by supermarkets are for profit and to please shareholders and they make them negating their responsibility to the world's hungry.

Food Waste

Supermarket shame
Starving millions suffer
Up heat on sellers
©David L Atkinson January 2013

I have evidence of the influence of 'sell by dates' on younger generations which makes me wonder how my parents managed to cook a meal before the creation these spurious dates. I know someone who never questions sell by dates and who was amazed that those of us who are a little older don't worry about them. My mother summed it up with the simple phrase - 'if it doesn't look or smell right don't eat it'. If you are unconvinced there is a simple experiment you can carry out without risk to yourself. I used to by my milk from one supermarket, Morrison's but it was quite pricey in comparison with Lidl, about 15p/litre dearer. What made me change was a bottle I bought from the local Co-op which was 20p dearer. I ran a day over on the sell by date with the Co-op milk and it was almost yoghurt the Morrison's lasted a couple of days longer but the Lidl milk was fine for 4 days past its sell by date. Now there will be extraneous factors about freezing etc but the bottom line is that the sell by date is irrelevant, use your senses. Find out which of your local shops are giving the best value.

There are lots of sayings that stem from the second world war related to avoiding waste summed up in the poster from that era:-

Now being of the baby boomer generation I was brought up with the aftermath of this philosophy which was actually no bad thing. However, I think many of the following generations were over indulged as a reaction until we have reached this very wasteful situation. 
So remember:-

'When you start dating a tuppeny pie costs fourpence'
'If thee ever does owt for nowt be sure to do it for thee sen'
'She could nip a currant in two'
'He's as tight as a duck's arse and that's water tight!'
'Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'

All of the above have been quoted in my hearing and sometimes to me by members of the generations that lived through the Great Depression and WW II. Our current situation in the world may not be war but its not a million miles away from depression. So an obvious tip for saving that is linked to the final saying above is to Decant
A small tip that you all might be aware of but that can save money is decanting the dregs of a stored liquid into the new bottle. For example - sauce. If you have a favourite sauce that you buy repeatedly it is sometimes difficult to obtain the last few drops from the bottle when its nearly done. Take off the cap and decant into the new bottle. This works for all liquids not just foodstuffs. It may seem to be such a small thing but read the bottom saying!

God Bless