The big freeze

The countdown to Christmas Day can often be a busy and stressful time. According to research by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), 43 per cent of people feel that buying presents is the main worry, while cooking Christmas dinner comes second, along with family arguments.

Indeed, the pressure of cooking for more people than usual (29 per cent of people report preparing Christmas dinner for more than seven guests) can take its toll – on both the person cooking and the food being wasted.

At a time when food waste is already under huge scrutiny, the FSA is promoting a range of messages – delivered by the ‘FSA Freezer Fairy’ – to help people plan their festive cooking and work out what and when to cook, freeze and defrost in an attempt to keep waste at bay over the festive period.

The agency’s research finds that more than two thirds (68%) of people surveyed admitted to having thrown food away in the past month; the most common reason given being that it is past its ‘use by’ date, cited by over a third (36%) of respondents. In addition, 30 per cent admit to throwing food away as they had bought too much and didn’t eat it.

Making better use of freezers plays a large part in overcoming these issues, as the FSA’s Dr Kevin Hargin comments, “Every year, we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary, and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem.

“That’s why we are making freezing the focus this Christmas and demonstrating, with the help of our festive FSA Freezer Fairy, that proper use of the freezer can help take some stress out of Christmas cooking and reduce food waste.”

Let’s all help spread the freezer friendly messages over the festive period. On that note, I wish you all a very merry – and waste-free – Christmas.

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