#30Seconds Live: Reduce Food Waste With Chef Alison Mountford of Ends & Stems! by Chef Gigi Gaggero, Our 30Seconds Resident Chef
Food Fact: Did you know that 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted? During our #30Seconds LIVE with Chef Alison Mountford, we learned how to reduce your household food waste and save tons of money on your family’s food budget – and get free weekly meal plans! Chef Mountford is the founder of Ends & Stems, where their mission is to reduce in household food waste across America.
Q. There are a lot of things to care about, why food waste? How big of a problem is it?
“A lot of people describe this feeling of paralysis or overwhelm because there are so many issues to worry about in this day and age. It helps to do just a little something every day to fight off that feeling of helplessness. I suggest working on your household food waste because it’s a triple win: you’re saving money, saving time AND you’re doing something good for the planet all in one action.
“You’re saving money by eating food you’ve already paid for. Then, let’s assume you have some leftovers in your fridge, as many of us do – eating them saves time because you don’t have to go to the store again or cook something new. You don’t even have to spend a second wondering where you’ll order takeout from. Isn’t easier just to eat what you already have? And saving the planet because, this IS a huge problem
“The average family of four throws out $2000 of edible food annually. Forty percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted and one-third of that happens at home. Food scraps landfills is one of the top three large emitters of methane gas driving climate change, and 43 million of Americans are food insecure – they don’t know where their next meal will come from.”
Q. How can we waste less as a family?
“The recurring advice from experts is to ‘write a meal plan and shop from a grocery list.’ I started my website, Ends+Stems, to provide weekly meal plans and consolidated grocery lists because doing your own takes a good amount of effort. Only 8 percent of families say they meal plan. Right now, I offer a meal plan with four dinners every week and its totally free! We’re about to launch customized serve for a few bucks a month and your meal plan will be tailored to your specific dietary preferences.
"Another great way to reduce overall waste at home is an audit! Don’t get scared by that horrible term – it’s fun. Get the whole family involved. Every time someone throws something out, write it down. After a few days, you can analyze what you’re wasting and make a plan to change some tendencies."
Q. What’s your favorite no food waste tip?
“Preserve now for later! Use the freezer, salt or sugar, pickle making and pureeing to store things that are going bad. Freeze potato chips for breading chicken, pickle everything, store herbs in salt, lemon zest in sugar, and puree extra garlic or veggies for adding to soups. You can even freeze eggs and dairy products!”