Tinned goodness

UK supermarket Waitrose has advised its customers to plan at least one meal per week with tinned food, to cut down on food waste.

This comes at the same time as the supermarket’s announcement that it is removing Use-By dates from around 500 of its products.

Removing the dates on fresh products, including root vegetables, fruits and indoor plants, will save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food from being dumped in the bin, according to Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap).

In Waitrose’s ‘20 easy ways to cut food waste‘ list, the advice to eat tinned food items once a week comes in at number two, which is all about making ‘wiggle room’ so that “if your plans change and you’re not going to be at home for dinner one evening, you won’t be wasting any fresh ingredients.”

All well and good, but seeing as Waitrose’s list also notes buying loose fruit and veg to cut down on plastic waste, I think the supermarket could be doing more to promote the sustainability of tinned food, as well as its versatility.

It’s also about using the whole tin, which, to really cut down on food waste, I’d say is a matter of encouraging bulk cooking.

In our house, we follow suit with buying a lot of the UK’s most popular items of tinned baked beans and tomatoes. Soup is also apparently in the top three most popular tinned items, but that’s a seasonal thing for us. Much more likely to have that in colder months. Elsewhere, we’ve got a lot of tinned tuna and mackerel. Sweetcorn, if we’re making a tuna pasta bake, chickpeas for another element to a summer salad, black beans for chilli con carne and coconut milk for Thai curry. I would say we can’t go a week without having at least two tinned food items on the list, especially as we like to cook huge meals that we can divide up into lunches and quick dinners.

An organisation that really is educating the nation about this is Canned Food UK, the organisation run by the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA). There’s a lot of information for consumers about the benefits of metal as a packaging choice, tinned food’s role in nutrition and a balanced diet, as well as a plethora of good-looking, tasty recipes (starters, mains and desserts) and tips. Just browsing the Canned Food UK Instagram page makes me immediately hungry. I’m keen on trying this Sicilian style fish stew soon.

See Waitrose, I’d argue it’s more than just cutting food waste and using the tinned stuff as a reserve. It saves people time, money, and is good for the environment. Metal packaging saves the day again and again.

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