It’s estimated that UK households typically throw away around £60 worth of food and drink a month. A nice amount of cash that no household would turn down, surely, so why is food waste still a problem? The tricky thing is that because ‘food waste’ includes odds and ends, like peelings, many of us don’t even realise we’re throwing food away. There's also a lot of mixed messaging around portioning and best ways to store foods, meaning we could be keeping the food we buy fresher for longer and we could be savvier with knowing how much to cook.

Cue the Innovation Challenge. As part of our work with the Sainsbury’s ‘Waste less, Save more’ campaign, we challenged 50 households in the Derbyshire town of Swadlincote to trial a range of kitchen gadgets in a bid to cut their food waste. Here’s what they tested and how they got on.



Get your portions right

1) MeasureAll

The MeasureAll is a handy kitchen gadget from LoveFoodHateWaste on a trial basis, that allows you to properly portion out things like rice and spaghetti so you don’t end up making too much. There are loads of gadgets that can help you portion correctly like portion plates and online calculators so have a look around to find the best one for you!

Cooking

2) Spiralizer

This it girl of kitchen gadgets is a great way of using up leftover vegetables like courgettes and butternut squash. It turns the veg into spirals or ribbons which are fast to cook and bulk out meals. They range in price, you can get your hands on the one we tried for around £34.99 but some are as cheap as £8!

‘Spiralized squash and courgette has been a more popular meal than when we previously chopped it up and served that!’ Diane Hardy

Be savvy about storing food

3) Food Huggers

These nifty silicone huggers create airtight seals around the ends or halves of veg so they are kept fresh for the next time you need them! £7.99 for 4 on Amazon.

‘Food Huggers were very easy to use and always at hand whenever I had to put half-used veg back in the fridge. None of my veggies go to waste anymore.’ Michelle Allton

4) Vacuum Packer

This space age kitchen gadget vacuum packs everything from fresh meat to leftovers and can dramatically increase their shelf life. It’s great if you don’t have very much storage space in your fridge or freezer! £153.93 from Food Saver. 

‘While cooking for two, it makes perfect sense to cook more than you need and freeze it for future use. This is what I have got more into the habit of doing. This is where my gorgeous vacuum sealer has paid dividends! I can portion meals, ready to defrost when required, quickly and easily, and save on fuel at the same time!’ – Tricia Drakely, Zero Waste Kitchen Challenge

5) Fresh Paper

Just pop one of these compostable sheets into your fridge drawer of fruit bowl to help keep your food fresh for longer. Each sheet lasts for about 3 weeks and will help extend the life of your fruit and veggies. It’s £9.99 for 10 sheets.

‘At Christmas I bought one of those big trays of satsumas and they lasted weeks with the FreshPaper, so it really lasted a good time! I keep it in my fruit bowl and it keeps bananas’ Pat Turner

6) Count on it

These scratch labels are designed to be popped onto newly opened jars or leftovers to remind you when they were opened or cooked. You can get 4 boxes for £7.69.

‘Count on it was useful for keeping track of things I'm usually a bit weary of. Things like mayo and salad dressings, that you have in your fridge for weeks rather than days.’ Catherine Callcut