Plan meals for the week; check cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have in the house, so you don't duplicate. Keep track of "use by" and "best before" dates: "use by" dates are safety-related, whereas "best before" refers to quality. Most things are fine for quite a while after their best before date, apart from eggs (click here for more information).
Make a shopping list (that doesn't mean you have to be rigid: you can always look for the best offer on, say, fish, when you get to the shop).
Special offers are fine, as long as you will actually eat them (otherwise they are a waste of money as well as food/ packaging/transport).
Careful storage will help to reduce spoilage. (I undo packets of herbs, cut off base of stems and stand herb in jam jar of water - they last really well, sometimes for weeks - Shirley) Keep fridge below 5oC and freezer at minus 18oC.
Use your freezer more, e.g. slice and freeze a loaf of bread, then only defrost as much as you need; freeze small quantities of tomato puree in ice cube trays; make enough of a dish for two meals and freeze half.
Store opened jars in the fridge. Transfer part-used canned food into a jar or other lidded container and store in the fridge or freezer. Keep dried foods in a cool dark cupboard (will keep longer than on an open shelf, exposed to light and heat.
As well as reducing food waste, we can reduce the environmental impact by eating less meat and choosing responsibly caught or farmed fish ( see Marine Stewardship Council).
Reduce waste by boiling new potatoes or baking potatoes in their skins. Eat the peel on the apple.
We may do well at home, but not think about wasting food if we eat out. Ask for smaller portions or share.
Use up tired-looking veg to make a soup.
Store leftovers in the fridge in a covered container and use the next day:
- make soup by heating them gently with some added water or stock.
- turn them into toast topping or a filling for an omelette or baked potato.
Soft fruits that are past their best could be made into smoothies or mixed with yogurt for a dessert.
Make bread pudding with left over bread. Make bread into breadcrumbs and freeze.
Fruit and veg peelings, egg shells, tea leaves/bags, coffee grounds etc. can all go in home compost.
Give apple cores to the birds. They love scraps of cheese, pastry and fruit cake too.