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Food Waste Flat Hacks

Flat Hacks image
Food Science students Stephanie McLeod, Teilah Ferguson and Hannah Morgan organised the market to raise sustainability awareness.

Food Waste Flat Hacks is a student-led market inspired by a need to reduce waste to save both money and the environment.

The market, which was held earlier this month, featured stalls informing students on sustainability hacks in a fun and interactive way. Every year New Zealand homes throw away 157,389 tonnes of food, a worth of $1.17 billion.

Food Science student Stephanie McLeod and her classmates were tasked with creating an event about food waste as part of their studies. Steph says they immediately knew a market would be the most effective way in reaching students as a target audience.

“We thought a market would be cool as we could get other people involved. The actual market featured Disco Soup, Generation Zero and Otago Uni Nutrition Association among others.”

“Each organisation had their own stall where they gave students some flat hacks in a fun and interactive way. We made a bread mountain where students had to guess the weight of the 100 loaves of bread in a trolley. The weight represented the 86kg of food-waste individual kiwi homes throw away each year.”

Master of Applied Science student Hannah Morgan said that another highlight of the event was the fridge game.

“The fridge game was showing what people should and shouldn’t store in the fridge and the best places to store food. For example milk should be kept at the back of the fridge as it will stay fresher for longer in a spot where the temperature is less likely to fluctuate.”

Every year New Zealand homes throw away 157,389 tonnes of food, a worth of $1.17 billion.

Teilah Ferguson, who is currently completing her Honours in Food Science, said the event had a positive response.

“We had over 300 people turn up to the event and people left with food vouchers and some useful hacks for preventing waste in their flats.”

The team have shared their favourite hacks below.

Keep a night free: a lot of the time leftovers are accumulated from each night of flat cooking. Thrown out leftovers is the biggest contributor to food waste in the country after bread.

Correct storage: make sure you cover your food over properly when storing it in the fridge. Food which isn’t stored correctly won’t last, adding to food waste.

Keeping bread in the freezer: take slices out as you need it to avoid loaves going mouldy before they can be consumed.

Don’t go to the supermarket hungry: hungry shoppers are more likely to impulse buy, leading to extra items (and spending) that won’t be consumed.

Plan your dinners: plan your week in advance and try to plan for meals that share ingredients so you can get more out of your shop.

Get rid of your peeler: the skin of your vegetables often have the most nutrients. Peeling your vegetables not only wastes food but also nutritional value.

Be flexible with the best before: if it’s an expiration date you can’t be lenient but a “best before” is a guideline which has some flexibility.

Find out more on reducing food waste at home here.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser, Chelsea McRae