When it comes to the festive food shop, we’ve discovered that Scots identify themselves as Planners, Panickers or Survivalists. The problem is, that whatever your shopping style, Christmas can be a really bad time for food waste, with around 67 million meals going to waste in Scotland in December alone.
We’ve teamed up with Dr Esther Papies from Glasgow University’s School of Psychology to develop a series of simple tips to help you fight festive food waste this Christmas, as well as making your life that little bit easier!
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Planning is key, but sometimes even the most organised households buy too much or purchase unnecessary items.
Dr Papies says, “The food we eat and the number of people we cook for are usually very different over Christmas compared to the rest of the year. As a result, we often end up buying and preparing too much food.”
Top tips for Planners
1. Don’t stop planning! But, really think about how many guests you have, and how much they are likely to eat.
2. Festive favourites like turkey and potatoes are most likely to go uneaten, so bear this in mind when choosing the size of your Christmas centrepiece. A 2.5-3 kg turkey is perfect for 4 people, 2.5-4 kg will feed 7-8 people and a 5.5-6kg turkey 10-12 people.
3. If you do end up with leftovers, get inventive! There’s loads of ways you can utilise extra turkey and veg, from a classic Boxing Day sandwich to something a bit different. And remember, turkey freezes really well, so you can make the most of the meat in the months to come.
Over 1 million Scots will leave it as late as Christmas Eve to begin doing their festive food shop! Not only is this stressful, it often results in extra food creeping into your basket and without a list, you may end up missing vital ingredients.
Dr Papies says, “Remember, your Christmas meal doesn’t need to be too big or perfect – focus on what Christmas feels like, not what it looks like. Make enjoying time with friends and family a priority, with a nice home-cooked meal part of the experience.”
Top tips for Panickers
1. Plan plan plan! Having a list will help layout what you need and will help you to remember any staple items we typically forget.
2. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed and shove any old thing into your trolley, give yourself the time to ask ‘do I really need this?’. Schedule in the time to go to the shops instead of making it a mad dash at the eleventh hour.
3. Love your leftovers! Make the most of any extra food by incorporating it into tasty meals in the lazy days after Christmas.
It’s easy to get carried away and stock up on the essentials when we know the supermarket isn’t going to open on Christmas Day but it’s unlikely you need any more milk or bread than usual.
Dr Papies says, “Christmas food shopping can seem really difficult. Most of our eating during the rest of the year is influenced by our habits, but around Christmas everything changes and our usual habits don’t work.”
Top tips for Survivalists
1. Try to think of Christmas as a normal day, if you have guests maybe buy 1 extra loaf or one pint of milk, and remember you can freeze the essentials!
2. Don’t stress! Even if you do run out of milk on Christmas Day there’s probably a garage open nearby!