Millions of meals go straight to the bin

Web environment secretary roseanna cunning

Top chef Gary Maclean has given his tips to avoid food waste this Christmas 

4th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Tens of millions of meals are set to go uneaten this month.

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that 60 million dinners in Scotland will go straight to the bin during December.

The figure includes 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings and over 100,000 turkeys.

This has prompted the organisation to team up with chef Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016, to help Scots tackle food waste at Christmas.

In his first official engagement since being appointed Scotland’s first National Chef, Maclean joined Zero Waste Scotland to share his festive checklist – designed to help minimise food waste and time spent in the kitchen.

He said: “Planning ahead, not overcooking the turkey, getting portion sizes right and using a serving-style that makes the post-dinner tidy up incredibly easy are all on my festive food waste checklist.

“I encourage Scots to give the checklist a go to save time and money, and ultimately get the most out of their Christmas Day.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “The Zero Waste Scotland website is fully stocked with tips, tricks and advice on how to save time and money while preparing your Christmas dinner.”

In a separate study, charity Christian Aid found that around 70 million mince pies, four million puddings and two million turkeys will go to waste this Christmas.

The group is calling for people to spend less on what they usually do this Christmas, and instead donate the money to good causes. 

The charity has produced a film using real food from the traditional Christmas dinner, combined with a unique version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, to highlight the vast quantity of edibles the UK public throws away every year.

Sally Foster-Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “We think people in Scotland will enjoy ‘Oh What A Waste', it looks like a bit of festive fun, but it doesn't shy away from highlighting an important challenge. If we all pay a bit more attention to buying only what we need, cut back a little on the excess that will probably end its days in the bottom of the bin, then we can all save a little, waste less and make a small, but important change."

Gary Maclean’s Christmas tips

• Buy a turkey that’s smaller than the size you think you need and cook it upside down. Christmas sees us inclined to over-buy which leads to food waste. When preparing the turkey, cook it upside down, ensuring the juices stay in the breast meat. Dried-out turkey isn’t enjoyable or palatable for you or your guests; meaning it often goes uneaten.

• Serve your guests buffet-style. Present side dishes, sauces and desserts on individual dishes in the middle of the table. This means people can choose what they please which is great for fussy eaters or those with a smaller appetite.

• Use zip-style sandwich bags, a home vacuum-packer and containers to store leftovers in your freezer or fridge.

• Do your bit to tackle the 100,000 turkeys that go to waste in Scotland every year by making turkey and cranberry spring rolls. A great recipe for party season that uses up leftover turkey meat and vegetables.