On average, every family in the UK bins £680 of food each year - that's £50 a month of your hard-earned cash.
Figures from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveal that up to 15% of all the food and drink we buy, including 32% of bread, 24% of vegetables and 20% of fruit goes to waste.
When most of us are trying to tighten out belts financially, it's crazy to effectively throw away so much money, yet it can be easy to do if you don't think about your weekly shop carefully.
Here, we explain how to keep waste to a minimum and save on your shopping...
Sit down before you go to the supermarket and work out exactly what you are going to eat for each meal. It might sound boring, but it'll stop you buying things that you don't end up using. Once you've written your meal plan, write down the ingredients you'll need on a list.
Be strict when you are at the supermarket and try not to stray from your list. Most of the supermarket's websites have recipe ideas which can help, and Morrisons even has a section on its site called 'Great Taste Less Waste' which shows you how to get more meals for your money and make the most of fresh food.
Don't confuse 'best before' with 'use by'
Lots of food gets thrown away because people see that the 'best before' date has passed and assume that their food is no longer safe to eat. However, this is just advising you when the food is best to eat - it does not mean it will be unsafe after this date. The 'use by' date is the one you should look at carefully, as this is when the food should be eaten by.
Buy fruit and veg throughout the week and use your freezer
Fruit and vegetables tend to go off more quickly than many other foods, so rather than buying them in bulk when you do your weekly shop, try and pick them up as and when you need them. This will ensure you don't end up with a rotting bowl of fruit by the end of week, which you have to throw away.
One of the biggest areas of food waste is bread, so to avoid that green mould appearing, why not freeze the next loaf you buy and then defrost only what you are going to need that day. The same goes for other items - freeze anything you are not planning to use before the best before date so it doesn't go off.
Other ways to cut grocery bills
As well as wasting lots of our food, most of us are guilty of sticking with the same brands week in week out without looking for cheaper alternatives. Next time you go shopping, choose different products to the ones you usually pick and see how quickly the savings mount up.
Similarly, if you tend to use the same supermarket all the time, try visiting a few others to see if you can find the same goods more cheaply elsewhere. If you shop in the same supermarket because you like some of their own brands, then you could continue to buy those items there, but buy all other items elsewhere if you can find them more cheaply.
Take advantage of BOGOF and other special offers
Lots of supermarkets offer buy-one-get-one-free deals on certain items, so keep an eye out for special deals which can save you money.
For example, until August 17, Sainsbury's is offering BOGOF deals on McVities Jaffa cask bars and Hobnob bars, and on luxury ice creams including Carte D'or Chocolate, Vanilla , Mascarpone and Rum and Raisin flavours.
It is also offering half price Back to School Stationery and a third off Persil washing powder.
All the other supermarkets run special offers every week too, so it's worth checking their websites before you go shopping. Asda is currently offering two packs of nappies for £10, meaning parents will save nearly £2 as the usual price is £5.97 per pack, while Morrisons is offering a third off British strawberries so they cost £1.85 per pack rather than the usual £2.79.
Use vouchers and codes
There are plenty of vouchers and codes available which can help you save money on your shopping.
At moneysupermarket.com, for example, deals come in all the time, so it's worth checking the site on a daily basis to see if there are any opportunities for you to save money. Deals on groceries aren't just confided to major supermarkets - you can get money off at independent shops too.
For example, current offers include 10% off any shop purchase at The Yorkshire Food Company in Micklegate, York and a free hot drink. This deal doesn't expire until May 5 next year.
Don't ever go to do your supermarket shopping when you are hungry. You're more likely to splash out on impulse buys which will hike the cost of your shopping bill and could go to waste later on.
Those sweets are placed by the till for a reason, but having a full stomach will help you to resist temptation.
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