How to save money and be less wasteful with your food

This is the fifth and final instalment of a 1 NEWS series on being a more sustainable consumer.

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New Zealanders throw away 160,000 tonnes of food each year. Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwis throw away almost 160,000 tonnes of food each year.

So, what's the environmental and financial impact, and how can we be less wasteful?

For Auckland woman Jessica Niemack, throwing away food is throwing away money.

She is making a difference by running classes about finding smarter ways to cook and save.

"We can learn how to use all of the things we have, in the fridge, freezer, pantry, in the garden or local sources around us.

"We'll actually become a lot wealthier, just in the way we're living and the way we're treating the things around us," Ms Niemack from the GeneNow Financial Literacy Trust told 1 NEWS.

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Her classes would certainly be a big help, as it turns out we're not treating our leftovers particularly well.

The average Kiwi family throws away three shopping trolleys' worth of food every year, amounting to around $644 worth per family.

The two main reasons for disposing of food: Either we don't eat our leftovers, or food goes off because it's not stored properly.

The most wasted food is bread, citrus, apples, chicken, and bananas.

In total, the country wastes almost 160,000 tonnes of food every year.

Food that's buried in the tip decomposes without oxygen, releasing methane - a harmful greenhouse gas.

So how do we prevent it ending up here?

Doing a stocktake at home and planning your shopping will go a long way to reducing that waste.

"Plan your meals around your family about it. My grandmother never cooked a meal without asking us what we wanted.

"That might sound daunting, but when you have an idea of what your family actually want to eat, you know that the food's not going to be wasted and they're going to be looking forward to those meals," Ms Niemack advises.

Another key tip is to eat leftovers and freeze food for later.

As Kiwis become more conscious of issues like plastic packaging it's hoped the contents they're carrying are equally at the forefront of people's minds.

Also from the 1 NEWS sustainable consumer series:

Plant based milk 'a better choice' than cow's milk if you're concerned about the environment

Auckland Zoo ditches throwaway coffee cups for the sake of the environment

Top tips for Kiwis wanting to limit harm to the environment while on holiday

New Zealand tourism operators stepping up to help the environment