Menu
Eating Greener

Types of food

By reducing our food waste, we could enjoy more of the food we buy and save up to £470 a year in the process.

Using a portion planner can help us to make the right quantities at mealtimes. Any leftover food can often be refrigerated or frozen to use later.

We’d also be helping to make sure that more of the food that Scotland grows and imports is actually used. If we all cut back on food waste, the carbon savings could add up to the equivalent of taking one in five of Scotland's cars off the road.

Recipe Finder

Try this recipe finder to search for ways to use up different ingredients - you might just discover your new favourite dish!

Get started

Food waste that goes to landfill is bad news for the environment. As it decays, biodegradable landfill waste releases methane gas. While methane and carbon dioxide both contribute to climate change, methane traps heat even more powerfully than CO2.

Planning meals can help to cut shopping bills and reduce food waste. It’s good to consider how long different types of food last. Storing food properly and using everything we buy before it goes off can help us all to save money.

Buy, store and prepare food better

Find out how how to save money and reduce food waste when you buy different types of food:

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are a key part of a balanced and healthy diet – so our ‘5 a day’ should always include some veg as well as fruit. See some easy ways to get enough portions in each day.

Vegetables can also be versatile, cost-effective and long-lasting ingredients to have around the kitchen. A few simple tricks can help us to store, prepare and make the best use of them.

Local and in season food can be a very tasty and cost-effective option, bursting with flavour and goodness.

Growing your own vegetables is another possibility – potatoes, carrots, onions and leeks are all quite hardy and handy to have around.

Find out below how to save yourself some money, eat healthily and enjoy great tasting veg.

Shopping for fresh vegetables

  • Plan your meals in advance and stick to your list
  • Buy only what you need – you’ll save money
  • Try buying in season vegetables for the tastiest and freshest option
  • Look for produce grown locally in season where you live – it won’t have travelled as far to reach you
  • Have fresh vegetables delivered in a farm produce box
  • Buy vegetables that are in season at a farmers' market

Make your own soup

Each season throughout the year brings with it a different choice of vegetables. In season vegetables can be used to make tasty and healthy soups. If you have any soup left over, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for another day.

Reduce food waste

  • Go for loose vegetables rather than pre-packed wherever possible
  • Leave the plastic bag if you don’t need it
  • Save leftovers for another meal
  • Freeze excess veg – even mash can be frozen
  • If you do end up with waste, use the food waste collection service that’s already available in some towns and cities, and which will be coming to others
  • Compost vegetable peel and scraps – and see what else you can compost

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit can provide many of the vitamins and other nutrients we need to live a healthy, balanced life. It’s why getting our ‘5 a day’ of fruit and veg can help us to feel great. Find easy ways to get enough fruit every day.

Fruit can be used in salads, desserts and as healthy snacks throughout the day. A little planning can help to reduce food waste, save money and include fruit as part of a balanced diet.

In season fruit is the tastiest option – just think how full of flavour strawberries are in the summertime. If fruit hasn’t had to travel far, it’s likely to taste fresher too, so check labels to see where your fruit has come from.

You could also have a go at growing your own fruit. Grow strawberries in pots on a windowsill or outside step. If you have a garden or allotment, plant a hardy apple tree or grow some raspberry canes against a sunny wall.

Find out below how to save yourself some money, eat healthily and enjoy great tasting fruit.

Shopping for fresh fruit

  • Fruit can go off quickly, so buy only what you need
  • Buy some ripe fruit and some that will be ready to eat later
  • Choose in season fruit for a tasty and delicious snack
  • Fruit that has been grown locally in season where you live will taste fresher as it won’t have travelled as far to reach you
  • See what in season fruit is on offer at your local farmers market
  • Make sure fresh fruit isn’t bashed or bruised as you might decide not to use it once you get it home
  • Most fruit keeps better in the fridge

Freezing fresh fruit

If you have a glut of soft fruit like strawberries, raspberries or blackcurrants, freeze what you can’t eat in summer to use over winter. Wash the fruit first, then lay out on a tray in a single layer in the freezer. Once the individual fruits are frozen, you can bag them up without them getting stuck together. Defrost overnight and add a dollop of low fat yoghurt for a healthy breakfast. Or cook up a delicious summer pudding.

Reduce food waste

  • Buy firmer fruits like apples and oranges loose, rather than pre-packed
  • Leave the plastic bag if you don’t need it
  • Lemon juice on a sliced apple will stop it going brown
  • Make jams, sauces or puddings with excess fruit
  • Freeze soft fruits to eat later
  • If you do end up with waste, use the food waste collection service that’s already available in some towns and cities, and which will be coming to others
  • Compost fruit peel and scraps – and see what else you can compost

Bakery Goods

By making a few choices about when we buy and how we use baked goods, we can cut food waste, help local businesses and make a real difference to Scotland’s environment.

Shopping for bakery goods

  • Plan your meals in advance and stick to your list
  • Buy only what you need
  • Look for fresh bakery goods at your local farmers' market
  • Try baking your own bread, pancakes and scones – wholemeal flour can be healthier than plain white flour

Make your own banana bread

Don’t throw out those brown bananas – they’re sweeter now and ideal for using in a delicious banana bread. It’s cheap to make and it’ll save you wasting food and money by turning overripe fruit into an easy snack. If you have enough bananas to make more than one loaf, freeze what you won’t use straightaway. If you cut the loaf into slices first, you can take individual pieces from the freezer as you need them. Ideal for lunchboxes.

Reduce food waste

  • Choose bakery goods with less packaging
  • Bake your own cakes to save money and reduce packaging
  • Take slices of bread out of the freezer as you need them
  • If you do end up with waste, use the food waste collection service that’s already available in some towns and cities, and which will be coming to others
  • Bread scraps don’t compost well – add them to bird feed instead

Meat and Fish

Scotland is rightly proud of the Scotch Beef and Lamb, farmed Scottish Salmon and other quality meat and fish products we're known for producing. It's no surprise then that meat and fish also form a big part of our diet.

Cutting back on the amount of meat and fish that ends up as food waste can also have an impact on our wallets and Scotland’s environment.

Red meat can still be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, but we are encouraged to look at how much we eat and have some non-red meat days every week. The recommendations are that adults with relatively high intakes of red and processed meat (around 90 g/day or more) should consider reducing their intakes to around 70g per day.

Planning meals in advance of shopping trips and buying only what we need can help us to be healthier, cut costs and reduce food waste.

Eating meat and fish that’s reared locally can be a greener choice as the supply chain it travels through is likely to be shorter.

Look for tender Scotch Lamb and Scottish Farmed Salmon for fresh meals that are full of flavour.

Shopping for meat and fish

  • Plan meals in advance and buy only what you need
  • Buy from a butcher or the meat and fish counter in your local shop to get the exact amount you want
  • Choose in season meat and fish for the best taste
  • Visit your local farmers' market for meat and fish produce

Batch cooking

Some meat and fish dishes lend themselves to batch cooking. Cooking Bolognese sauce or fish pie in bulk can save you money and time. You can use fresh vegetables up at once, rather than risk them going off before you use them. And buying ingredients in larger quantities – meat included – is often cheaper. Use one portion for dinner and freeze the rest for the coming weeks. 

Reduce food waste

  • Buy meat fresh from the butcher or meat counter at your local shop rather than pre-packed
  • If you have a freezer, give batch cooking a try
  • Use extra roast meat for sandwiches the next day
  • Boil up a leftover chicken carcass to make stock for soup
  • If you do end up with waste, use the food waste collection service that’s already available in some towns and cities, and which will be coming to others
  • You can’t compost meat or fish – try to use every scrap

Dairy Produce

We can reduce the amount of dairy produce that ends up as food waste with careful refrigeration and by planning ahead.

Buying dairy produce in smaller amounts can help you to avoid throwing items out because they’ve gone off before you’ve needed them.

There are lots of recipes you can rustle up when we have some dairy products left over that need using up quickly.

Omelettes, pancakes and smoothies are just a few of the quick and healthy snacks you can make, often in a matter of minutes.

Shopping for dairy produce

  • Plan meals in advance and buy only what you need
  • Buy dairy produce little and often, so it doesn’t go off
  • Visit your local farmers market to buy dairy produce
  • Have eggs delivered with a farm produce box
  • Buy hard cheeses whole, cut up and freeze – it can cost less

Make a milkshake or smoothie

If you have lots of milk to use up, why not make a milkshake or smoothie? It makes for a healthy and filling drink – and saves you wasting money by pouring milk down the drain. Try banana and strawberry, or peach and mango. You might want to add a dollop of low fat yoghurt or honey too.

Reduce food waste

  • When you buy eggs with a farm produce box you can send the carton back for reuse
  • Keep products that need used first at the front of the fridge
  • Freeze hard cheeses and extra milk to use later
  • If you do end up with waste, use the food waste collection service that’s already available in some towns and cities, and which will be coming to others
  • Dairy products can’t go in the compost – try to use them up