Login/Register ZWS
Main content

Careful storage can help food last up to ten times longer, new research shows

Small changes at home can help us all get up to ten times longer out of our food, according to new research highlighted today (1 September) by Zero Waste Scotland.

30 Aug 18

Zero Waste Scotland has used the research findings to produce some handy new tips on how to make sure we waste less of Scotland’s fantastic produce, to mark Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, which runs from 1 to 16 September.

The research, from New Zealand’s University of Otago, was commissioned by Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand. Researchers at the university analysed different methods of storing food and the results show that small steps can make a big difference to how long fresh food will remain fresh and usable. The study compared various common methods of storage. In one example, careful storage helped keep carrots fit for use for up to ten times longer.

Food waste is a huge issue with a staggering 600,000 tonnes of food wasted each year in Scotland’s homes. The amount of food wasted every year by households in Scotland has the same carbon impact as more than eight and a half million car journeys from Aberdeen to London (8,638,013). 

Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager, Zero Waste Scotland said:

“Scotland’s food is too good to waste – but currently, huge amounts of Scotland’s food finds its way into our bins, not onto our plates. This new research from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign shows that making small changes to how we store our food can have a huge difference on how long it lasts. Scotland’s food waste reduction target was the first of its kind in Europe - these simple tips could help everyone play a part in meeting them. Not only will this help minimise our impact on the environment, it's also a great way of making sure that the food from your weekly shop lasts that bit longer.”

Graham Young, Scotland Food & Drink Industry Development Director, said:

“Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is a chance to celebrate the diversity and quality of Scottish produce. Scottish produce is the envy of the world and we want to make sure people can enjoy it to its fullest. We hope these excellent tips can help make sure that less food is wasted and that more people enjoy fresh food this fortnight and beyond.”

Love Food Hate Waste tips

The top tips for making fresh food last longer, based on the findings of the University of Otago study, for Love Food, Hate Waste New Zealand, are:

Carrots – store in an airtight container lined with a paper towel in the fridge. Storing carrots this way could keep them useable for up to 10 times longer.

Celery – store in an airtight container lined with a paper towel, in fridge. Stored like this, your celery could stay fresh for up to 5 days longer.

Lettuce – keep your lettuce in the vegetable drawer of your fridge or wrapped in paper towels sealed in a zip lock bag in the fridge. Storing lettuce in this way could maintain an acceptable quality for up to 4.5 times longer.

Broccoli – sprinkle the head with water then wrap it in paper towels and place in a sealed zip lock bag in the fridge and it could last up to 2.5 times longer.

Bagged salad – keep your bagged lettuce in an airtight container in the fridge and it could maintain its freshness for up to 2 days longer.


Notes For Editors

  • The research pitted various storage methods against each other and assessed their visual freshness over time in a refrigerator. The following were the best performing methods of storage, with relative storage times given in relation to the following control methods: Carrots: Unwrapped in fridge; Celery: Unwrapped in fridge; Iceberg lettuce: Unwrapped in fridge; Broccoli: Unwrapped in fridge; Bagged lettuce: In open bag in fridge.
  • The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign is delivered in Scotland by Zero Waste Scotland. For more info, visit their website or Facebook.
  • Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.
  • More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
Close Search

Search form