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Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Five Food Waste Heroes Helping to Save The Planet

food waste heroes

Food waste is a huge issue. Food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change – about one-third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture.

Despite this, both at the household level and at the manufacturing level, we are very wasteful when it comes to food. 30% of the food we produce is wasted – about 1.8 billion tonnes of it a year. So much so, that it has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

What Can We Do?

There are lots of food waste tips you can follow at home to reduce your food waste. However, the buck shouldn’t just stop with householders.

What about manufacturers? They have a huge part to play in reducing food waste. The good news is that there is a host of companies out there, making not just one product, but their entire range from surplus food, or food waste.

The Companies Fighting Food Waste

UK companies are leading the way in reducing food waste. From chutneys and preserves from imperfect produce; to gin made from wine industry leftovers. From beer made from surplus bread; to beauty products from cafe waste – there’s an innovative solution to many of our food waste problems.

Here are five such companies leading the way in the fight against food waste. This post uses affiliate links which are denoted by an *.

Rubies In The Rubble

rubies in the rubble chutneys and ketchups

Rubies In The Rubble make ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, chutneys, and preserves out of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. This produce goes to waste not because they taste any different, but often because they’re the wrong shape, size, or colour for supermarkets, or because the produce doesn’t look a certain way. In some cases, the produce is too ripe and doesn’t meet the supermarket’s strict shelf life criteria, and other times there may have been an overabundance of a crop.

Find their products – all priced £3.50 – direct via their website or via Ethical Superstore*, and in some Sainsbury’s stores.

UpCircle Beauty

upcircle beauty products made from waste materials

UpCircle Beauty started with the idea of giving used coffee grounds from cafes a new lease of life into delicious scented face and body scrubs. So much so, that UpCircle Beauty has now reused more than 250 tonnes used coffee grounds in their sustainable skincare products.

They have since expanded their range, and their soaps give brewed chai tea spices a new beginning, whilst other products, such as moisturisers and serums, are made with discarded fruit stones.

You can buy their skincare products online from Beauty Bay*.

Foxhole Spirits

foxhole spirits hyke gin made from food waste

Foxhole Spirits make delicious gins and rums made from by-products from the wine industry.

Working with the Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, their Foxhole Gin is made from leftovers from the English winemaking industry, such as the leftover pressing juices and grapes.

Their Hyke Gin is made from internationally sourced grapes that are deemed as “not suitable for fresh consumption”. Working in collaboration with one of the UK’s biggest fruit importers, Foxhole are managing to use 1.4 million punnets of surplus grapes per year, which otherwise would have gone to waste.

Buy their spirits directly from their website or in selected branches of Tesco, Waitrose and M&S.

Toast Ale

toast ale beer made from bread

Toast Ale brew beer made using surplus fresh bread sourced from bakeries and sandwich makers that would otherwise go to waste. Using surplus bread reduces the need for virgin grain, reducing the demand for land, water and energy, and helps reduce carbon emissions too.

What’s more, all profits go to the environmental charity Feedback to help end food waste and fund systemic change to fix the food system.

Their range of beers – from craft lager, to pale ale, American pale ale and session IPA – can be purchased direct from Toast (with 10% your first order if you subscribe to their newsletter) with free delivery, or in selected branches of Waitrose and the Co-Op.

Urban Cordial

urban cordial circular economy

Urban Cordial use surplus fruits sourced from British farms to make their range of low sugar grown-up cordials. Each flavour is made in small batches to create cordials bursting with taste.

The fruits used are deemed not suitable for sale in supermarkets – perhaps being too small, too big, or too lumpy, having imperfections, or just not being the right shape. So far Urban Cordial has helped to save over 30 tonnes of fruit from landfill.

At the moment, their seasonal ranges include Strawberry and Sage, Pear and Ginger, Elderflower, and Blackberry and Lavender, which can be purchased direct from the Urban Cordial website.

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

Can You Freeze Oat Milk?

Can you freeze oat milk? That is the burning question we all want to know the answer to!

Whilst any non-dairy milk is great for the environment compared to cows milk, not all non-dairy milk is equal. Oat milk is a great sustainable choice. It’s better for the environment than many other vegan milk substitutes such as almond, coconut, and rice milk.

As such, I drink a lot of oat milk. I’ve written here on which oat milk is the best, if you are interested. I almost always finish an opened carton of oat milk. However, on the odd occasion when we I am going away somewhere for a few days and can’t take the milk with me, then this poses a problem.

In those instances, it feels wrong to pour perfectly good oat milk down the drain. As a result, I looked for ways to preserve my precious oaty goodness.

can you freeze oat milk

Yes, You Can Freeze It!

Good news: it turns out that yes, you can freeze oat milk.

Oat milk settles in the freezing process, so it can be a little grainy when you defrost it. However, it’s completely fine to use. Due to the graininess, I personally would not use defrosted oat milk in tea, coffee, or cereal. However, when heated up you don’t notice the graininess, and it’s great for use in cooking.

How to Freeze It

For that reason, I freeze oat milk in an ice-cube tray so I have pre-portioned sizes of frozen milk on hand that I add directly to sauces. Pre-portioning the milk before freezing also means you can add it to your cooking without the need to defrost the milk beforehand.

Your oat milk will be good for up to three months in the freezer.

I use a plastic ice-cube tray because I’ve had it forever, and binning it and replacing it with a metal ice-cube tray is not in any way sustainable. However, if you don’t have an ice-cube tray you can get lovely metal ones*.

I had tried freezing milk in jars, but unless your recipe calls for a lot of milk then I’ve found the milk just languished in my fridge for too long. The last time I tried this method we ended up having to pour a jar of milk down the drain as nobody wanted it in their cup of tea. As such, it’s ice-cube trays all the way now!

How to use your frozen cubes

Frozen cubes can also be added to smoothies. Because you’re blending the smoothie, this means you won’t detect any graininess.

I’ve also found that Oatly Barista Milk separates when it’s frozen. It’s made with rapeseed oil so the oil tends to rise to the top. However, giving it a good mix when you are cooking sorts that all out.

Never refreeze already defrosted oat milk, and as always, make sure your milk hasn’t expired before freezing it.

What About Freezing Soy Milk Or Any Other Type of Non-Dairy Milk?

All other types of no-dairy milk (and regular cows milk) can be frozen. Again, they might go grainy like oat milk, or may lose some of their texture or taste, so I’d always recommend the ice-cube tray method.