Philippe fills up on unpackaged organic food

Combating food waste

Shop right – avoid food waste

Philippe shows us how easy it is to help the environment, and save money too. This is because clever shopping, storage, freezing and cooking avoids food waste.

From
Janine Radlingmayr
Date
Format
Tip, What we do

A wonky carrot fails to comply with the standard? A spotty banana ends up in the bin? More than one third of agricultural produce is wasted in Switzerland. Each person throws away 330 kilogrammes of food every year. In total, around 2.8 million tonnes of harvested food are lost during the processing stage before the end up on a plate. This figure is based on a study carried out by the ETH Zurich on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in 2019.

Philippe simply doesn’t want to accept these shocking figures for avoidable waste. He spent a day testing for us how to avoid food waste and handle food sustainably. Proper planning, a keen eye and a little know-how: here’s how to avoid food waste, surprise the family and at the same time save money.

Different is beautiful

Philippe knows that tasty food comes in all shapes and sizes: «It doesn't taste any different simply because it looks different.» This is why he looks for products on the shelves that don't match up with the norm. For instance, some of the fruit or various types of vegetables there may have been damaged due to natural events such as hail or frost, or may be smaller or larger than normal as a result of weather conditions. «We often have fun with this as a family and try to guess what shapes we can recognise in the vegetables», he says.

Too big, too small, too thick, too thin? It doesn’t matter. Even harvest produce that is not perfect should be passed on to customers, and not thrown away at the outset. In order to keep harvest losses as low as possible, Migros is also working with the Swiss start-up Agrosustain on a herbal substance to combat mould. Freshly harvested food would be better protected with this substance over the long term. According to the motto:innovating together to prevent food waste.

Good planning, clever buying

Philippe now has almost everything in the shopping basket that he wrote down on his shopping list. Ultimately, food waste can be avoided simply through clever shopping. This also includes good planning. The more people live together in a household, the more complex shopping becomes. As a result, he first asked his family whether anyone needed anything specific. 

«We don’t arrange things as often as we should, and we don’t do targeted buying, so food gets left over and then ends up in the bin», he concedes. He sees major potential to make savings here – also in financial terms. As a result, before doing shopping today he took a good look at exactly what was left over in the fridge and the larder. The only thing missing for the lunch planned when the children come home from school is a lime.

Philippe packs away limes in the veggie bag

Proper storage

At home Philippe now stows away the food according to a proper system: food with a longer expiry date at the back of the fridge, and food with a shorter expiry date at the front. Sour yoghurt, rotten eggs, rancid butter – all of that should be a thing of the past: good order, carefully considered transportation and correct storage are all necessary if we want to stop wasting food.

He leaves directly on the worktop the things he needs to cook. He only opens the fridge to take out yesterday’s leftovers: yesterday’s cauliflower goes perfectly with the vegetable curry, which the whole family loves together with some fresh coriander, an onion and carrots. Today too. And there might still be something left over, as he intentionally used all the fresh food. No problem: before throwing anything away, in many cases freezing is a good alternative. In order to ensure correct storage in the freezer or the fridge it's important to have airtight containers.

Surprisingly cheap – and sustainable

The app “Too Good To Go”

Leftover food sold for a third of the standard price? Philippe reserves a Surprise Bag of fruit and vegetables using the app Too Good to Go. «Everything is always top quality», he says, having already saved plenty of food through this route. The app’s developers share Migros’ goal of combatting food waste

In the evening he’s able to pick up a healthy Surprise Bag from his Migros store. As a result he saves not only time in the morning, not having to think about the shopping, but also money and resources.

In addition, Migros discounts products that have short expiry dates, or donates them to charitable organisations such as Tischlein deck dich, Partage or Schweizer Tafel. For a number of years we have been making efforts to ensure that excess food does not end up in the rubbish bin.