Putting the fun in functional - six amazing gift ideas to help fight food waste
Food is at the heart of festivities happening around this time of year. An abundant family gathering, an indulgent trip to a Christmas market, or a lavish buffet at the office party, the warm glow of Christmas is complemented by the cosiness radiating from a happy belly.
It’s almost instinctive at this point for hosts to worry about having enough food for everyone at the party, but poor planning can cause a huge amount of waste. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK estimated a 30% spike in waste generation over the holiday season. The proof is in the (Christmas) pudding.
So how can we turn this around to have a meaningful, less wasteful Christmas? Aside from making more conscious decisions on our part, we can also spread the joy of fighting food waste by getting creative with the gifts you give and putting the ‘fun’ in ‘functional’. Here are some thoughtful gift ideas that will add value instead of cluttering the home of your beloved receiver.
Home Compost Kit
Ideal for the gardening enthusiast, composting at home can turn food scraps into nutrients for gardens and even indoor plants! This Bokashi compost kit for example, is a great choice as it allows for almost all types of foods to be composted, it’s fast, and is fairly forgiving to beginners.
Not sure about how receptive they would be? Look for a composting workshop in your area to ease them into it!
Turn that leftover Christmas cranberry sauce into delicious fruit leather! A food dehydrator is such a fun way to increase longevity of fresh produce, encourage healthy snacking, and certainly a great bonding activity for families. While food dehydrators can be costly, this 14L food dehydrator by Cornell is under $100 and multi-tiered one by Nutrichef is under $200.
Sustainability driven cookbooks
Know someone that loves cooking or has been wanting to pick it up? Cookbooks are not only for the culinary explorers, but can also help encourage home chefs to cook seasonally and expand creativity in the kitchen. This award winning title The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Recipes for Leftovers A-Z offers tasty solutions to fully utilise your groceries, whether it is cold rice, citrus peels, or leftover olives in a jar.
The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations: For People and Planet is another fantastic title offering international recipes from chefs all over the world focusing on nutrition and climate-friendly dishes.
Fermentation and pickling kits
Fermenting and preserving food at home may sound scary but people from various cultures have been doing it at home for years! These food preservation techniques work by creating specific environments that prevent unwanted bacterial growth. When done right, they extend shelf life for months and develop unique flavours over time.
Using helpful tools such as this Water Seal Airlock can improve success rate and streamline the process. Fermented foods are also a great source of beneficial bacteria making it the perfect gift for those looking to improve gut health.
The perfect gift for those that are looking to eat healthier or save money in the new year, a vacuum sealer can help keep food fresh for longer when pre-portioning groceries. Under freezing conditions vacuum sealed food can last as long as two years, depending on the type of food! Share your favourite one-pot recipe to add a more personal touch. Check out this tried-and-tested list of 7 Best Vacuum Sealers to help with your decision!
Food Banks and Soup Kitchens
In the season of giving, volunteering and donating is a beautiful way to spread the festive cheer to many others. Look for your local Food Bank to donate in someone else’s name, or perhaps volunteer together as a group at a local soup kitchen. Always check in with these organisations to understand what types of food they need the most or when will be the best time to volunteer.