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Tips for reducing food waste during Christmas

Reduce your food waste this Christmas

Buffets are a major cause of food waste and the time around Christmas is no exception. Even a simple Christmas table is often bound by tradition, and it is worth thinking about what we can do with everything that goes to waste. The first step is to reduce your food waste. It saves you both money and time and is gentle on the environment. We throw away 12% more food during Christmas than the rest of the year. We want to change that!

6 tips to reduce food waste this Christmas

1. Avoid too large buffets

A fully loaded Christmas table with dozens of dishes is delicious, but how often do you see that several dishes have barely been touched? To reduce food waste, you can select the absolute most popular dishes and prepare a simple Christmas table instead. If you can reduce your serving waste before the food is even prepared, you save a lot of time, and money and you protect the environment.

If you know who is coming to the Christmas table, you can straight up ask your guests what they want on the Christmas table. Ask them to choose their favorites themselves. If you notice that several dishes are only requested by a single guest or not at all, it may not be worth including those dishes on the Christmas table.

If a restaurant is careful to keep cold things cold and hot things warm and to change the serving cutlery often, it is possible to reuse the food that is left over at a buffet. According to the Swedish Food Agency's requirements, it is also very important to cool down food as quickly as possible and to reheat food correctly (at least 72 degrees). If you can let the buffet be less well-stocked as it approaches closing time. Offer the guests that you can come out with what is requested, but don't put out a whole new serving platter for a single guest.

2. Handle leftovers from the Christmas table

It is almost impossible to have a clean Christmas table and at the same time have full and satisfied guests, you can count on some leftovers. But with the right approach, you can reduce your serving waste by taking care of the food afterward. If you have not put it on the Christmas table, it is often free to use the leftovers in other food. Christmas stew is a perfect lunch the next day and you can use up a lot of leftovers from the Christmas table. You can also use your freezer. Most things on the Christmas table can be frozen.

You can offer guests doggy bags or lunch boxes for the food that was prepared on the table and not eaten. A cardboard lunch box doesn't cost many kroner, but you create a lot of goodwill and you don't have to throw away food just because it's presented. Of course, you need to call for the food to be cooled quickly and determine if it is sanitary.

3. Take care of the whole raw material

When preparing the dishes, there can be a lot of preparation waste. Much of the waste can be avoided or reduced if you plan the dishes correctly. Vegetable cleaners, such as peels from onions and carrots, work just fine to cook your broth on. Cleaned bones and meat trimmings also work well. Put the rinse, water, and salt in a pot with a lid and cook out the flavors. Strain off the good broth and throw the remains into the compost. The broth can be frozen or used in other food for the Christmas table. You can also preserve, pickle, dry, juice, and pickle much of what would otherwise be thrown away.

4. Green Christmas food As I said, it is not possible to reduce all food waste, but then it is good to know what affects the environment the most. Vegetarian options are often cheaper than meat. They also generally have a much smaller environmental impact during production. Of course, this does not mean that the Christmas table has to be completely vegetarian, but if you can direct the focus from the meat to the accessories on the Christmas table, it can do a lot for both the environment and the wallet. Organic and climate-smart food gives you much more leeway on the Christmas table from an environmental point of view. Many perfectly good alternatives area much more climate-smart. If you can make your Christmas table with climate-smart food, you don't have to be ashamed of what you are forced to throw away after serving, if you don't manage to reduce food waste as much as you really want. 5. e statistics for better routines You can read as many recommendations as you want, but the best statistics for you and your guests are what you use. Take some time after the Christmas table and evaluate what has been used for each serving. For restaurants, we have a good measuring tool for measuring food, which can help you take control of your food waste. It will be even better if you also make a detailed list of what was cooked, compared to what was eaten. Then you divide this by the number of guests. The more serves you keep statistics on, the better it gets. Write the result of each recipe in your recipe collection and you know exactly how much was used and have thus prepared to reduce your food waste a year in advance.

6. Serve on smaller plates Plate waste can be difficult to deal with but one very effective thing is to use smaller plates for buffet service. It makes your guests more aware of what they put on their plate and they become more careful about only taking what they will eat. Also, remove the salad plate. There is no real reason to have it in front of you and if the guests use their regular plate for both salad and main course, they will also be more aware of what they are taking. The same applies to serving cutlery. Set out smaller serving cutlery. If your guest can scoop up, say, 10 meatballs with a single ladle, it's hard for them to pick a smaller amount than that on the fly, even if they only wanted a couple of meatballs.

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