With food waste and saving the pennies high on the consumer agenda, kitchen appliance giants are helping householders understand their actions and change their attitude to throwing away food.
Every year across the globe, 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food is thrown away according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year.In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year. Click To Tweet
This waste in turn amounts to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital, and needlessly produces greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
According to research carried out for Whirlpool EMEA, in the UK we have a tendency to buy and cook too much, and then forget about our actions, letting food linger in the fridge or cupboard until it becomes inedible. In fact, the research reveals that about a third of all food produced is either lost or wasted through poor planning.
These stark figures are behind a campaign by Jamie Oliver and Whirlpool brand Hotpoint – ‘Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food’.
“Food waste is an everyday problem all of us face, and we’re often not aware that with just a little bit of know-how, a huge volume of the food we throw away can be transformed into delicious, tasty things,” says Oliver.
Along with sharing Oliver’s tips and recipes, in October Hotpoint also unveiled its Fresh Thinking Pop-Up Café in East London to help spread the word.
But behind all this is a message to consumers to harness the brand’s refrigeration technology. According to Hotpoint, maximising its precision temperature control, and Active Oxygen technology, and storing food correctly using the innovative 3-in-1 Zone, ensures ‘day one food freshness’ and helps keep food fresher for longer.
Hotpoint isn’t the only brand raising food waste awareness in tandem with promoting its advancing refrigeration capabilities. Earlier this year, Grundig partnered with three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura for its Respect Food programme. While not as high-profile as Oliver, Bottura’s restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, was voted World’s No.1 Restaurant this year for the second time in William Reed Business Media’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. And Bottura is already an established campaigner in this area having founded non-profit organisation Food For Soul, which helps raise awareness of food waste and social isolation.
“Our Respect Food programme spans both product development and working with partners to reduce waste and use surplus food for good causes,” says Grundig. Its latest GQN21220WX fridge-freezer features a Full Fresh+ crisper drawer that controls humidity levels, which the brand says keeps fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days, as well as a Vitamin Care Zone that preserves the vitamin C content in fruit and vegetables by simulating natural light.
As far as appliance manufacturers are concerned, food waste is the big story and things are advancing fast. At IFA this year, Sharp launched its VacPac Pro Four-Door fridge-freezer that enables consumers to pack and store food without air by placing it a vacuum sealer bag, and then using the automative vacuum sealer on the front of the appliance to suck out the air. The brand says that this preserves food for up to eight times longer.
Also at IFA, Haier revealed its combination fridge-freezers with technology that reduces oxygen in the storage compartment to slow down food ageing.
However, appliance manufacturers aren’t the only ones with an eye on food waste as an area where they can deliver solutions. A prototype of the Mimica Touch food freshness indicator, which enables consumers to avoid throwing food away unnecessarily, was showcased at this year’s 100% Design.
Meanwhile, connected home company Smarter has adopted a more direct approach and is tackling the wasteful purchasing behaviour itself. Its FridgeCam wireless camera takes a photo of the fridge contents every time the door is closed, and has a ‘best before’ tracker to show which items are about to expire. It can be remotely accessed via an app so the user can check the fridge contents when they’re out and about, and avoid buying items they don’t need.
According to Smarter, this simple – but effective – strategy can help reduce food waste by up to 50%.