3 Tips to Reduce Household Food Waste

Our previous blog briefly discussed the 3 primary contributors to food wastage in Singapore – food industries, retailers, and consumers. Additionally, we identified several industry practices such as ‘excessive cosmetic filtering, poor storage and production practices, and inadequate pest management’, which exacerbated food wastage in Singapore.

Despite this, households are equally guilty of contributing to food wastage in Singapore. Singaporean households discard approximately 2.5kg of avoidable food waste every week, which amounts to a staggering $200 million worth of food wastage. As such, Electrolux Singapore conducted a household waste study to probe deeper into the reasons behind household food wastage.

Among the commonly cited reasons, respondents reported struggling most with portion control and misplacement (and hence, forgetting) of food items in the fridge. Additionally, respondents also cited needing to cater to fussy eaters and a general dislike for leftovers as reasons for discarding food.

Fortunately, we can resolve these problems easily. Read on to learn more about the food we frequently waste and tips to save them from the bin!

Rice, noodles, and bread

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According to a 2017 household waste study, carbohydrates such as rice, noodles, and bread form most of Singapore’s food waste. This is unsurprising as these are the mainstays of our Asian diet, and hence, has a greater likelihood of being wasted. Additionally, the recent vilification of carbohydrates by the health-conscious community could have amplified the wastage.

Cooked rice is the most discarded food. However, it is perfect for fried rice. Unlike freshly cooked rice, leftover rice has lower moisture which helps to keep the grains in your fried rice well separated.

Fruit and vegetables

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On an industrial level, fruit and vegetables reportedly made up 372,000 tonnes of food waste in Singapore in 2019. Among various reasons, cosmetic filtering was identified as the main culprit. In gist, cosmetic filtering occurs when visually unappealing but perfectly edible food is deemed unsuitable for sale and hence, discarded. However, this is extremely problematic as it exacerbates Singapore’s ongoing battle with food waste and threatens our food security.

We can fight food waste by altering our purchasing habits and showing love for our ‘ugly’ produce. The next time you see ‘ugly’ produce among a sea of flawless specimens, try going for the ‘ugly’ one instead! After all, it is just as nutritious as the others.

Furthermore, we can also adopt good habits at home. For starters, we highly recommend everyone to learn about proper storage practices. We can prolong their freshness and shelf life and reduce the chances of them going bad.

Cooked meat/fish

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A survey on Singaporean households' food waste habits revealed that cooked meat/fish is the third most discarded food. Unfortunately, as respondents did not elaborate further, it is difficult to suggest a solution. However, we suspect that the tendency to dispose of cooked meat or fish depends on the cooking method used.

Stewed or grilled meats, as compared to fried meats, are easily turned into leftovers. Fortunately, the advent of smart kitchen appliances such as air fryers has made our lives a lot more leftover friendly.

That said, tips and recipes aside – the best way to reduce food waste in Singapore is to prevent food waste from occurring. If you’d like to learn more, check out our previous blog on 5 lifestyle changes you can adopt to reduce food waste! Do follow us on Instagram for fun and valuable lifestyle hacks as well!


About Us

Just Dabao is a social enterprise that aims to reduce food waste in Singapore by working with F&B businesses to clear delicious surplus food items at affordable prices! We offer a variety of food, ranging from salads, pastries, drinks, and even pantry items.

Shop with us and begin feasting on delicious food while saving the planet!

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