Make the most of food wherever you eat

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HAVE you ever been out for a meal and found you had some food left on your plate and thought “what a waste”?

It is estimated that more than 600,000 tonnes of food waste is thrown away each year in the UK hospitality and food service industry from restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafes etc.

Whether you’re going out for a special occasion, meeting up with family and friends or simply re-fuelling at lunchtime, there are lots of simple actions you can take to cut down on food waste.

Why not try these five food-saving ideas from Love Food Hate Waste. They might seem obvious but it’s amazing how many of us don’t remember to do them.

Order a starter or “light bite” instead of a main meal if you’re not very hungry.

Ask if there are other portion sizes even if they aren’t shown on the menu – choose a smaller option if you don’t fancy a full meal.

Find out if you can swap chips for salad, potatoes for vegetables (or vice versa – whatever you prefer.

Can you take any leftovers home with you to eat next day? Pizza, sandwiches, cake, fruit, cheese – lots of food can be saved from the bin.

Watch the Love Food Hate Waste three-minute video, available on the Love Food Hate Waste website which talks to real people about the food they waste in cafes, restaurants and pubs and why it concerns them.

And it’s not just the food we buy when we eat away from home, don’t forget packed lunches and picnics too, as well as the food we eat in our own homes. Reducing food waste is essential however there will always be a certain amount of waste produced. Cookstown District Council would like to remind all householders who avail of the fortnightly brown bin collection service that food waste (both cooked and uncooked) can be disposed of in the brown bins in addition to the garden waste previously collected.

Love Food Hate Waste is run by WRAP Northern Ireland which launched a new Hospitality & Food Service Agreement in June 2012, where leading companies have made a commitment to reduce their food and packaging waste and increase recycling rates.

There’s strong support to reduce food waste with more than 100 companies already signed up including McDonald’s, Greggs and Dominos Pizzas.

The Love Food Hate Waste website has some great recipe ideas from our hospitality partners to make the most of your food at home.

To find out more about ways to save money by enjoying food, at home and eating out, visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com