29.9.2021 Article

Paulig and Luke have developed a food waste calculator to help people estimate their food waste and its impact, and find new ways to reduce it. Paulig Leadership Team tested it and found it insightful – try it yourself and see how much you can save money and help the environment.

Food waste is a traditionally overlooked issue with profound impact on the environment as well as economy. The magnitude of it is staggering: a third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste and if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

Luckily, the awareness of the issue has grown in recent years among both organisations as well individuals. When it comes to business, particularly those operating in the food and beverage industry have much to gain in terms of sustainability when focusing on food waste. 

Paulig approaches this objective ambitiously with an aim to halve the food waste in its value chain by 2030. Since March 2021, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) have been working together to research food loss in Paulig’s raw material supply chain, looking for new ways to reduce it. In terms of Paulig’s own operations, much has already been achieved – today, 99.5% of food waste generated by Paulig’s operations is already recycled as animal feed, composted or used for biogas production.

Besides as an organisation, here at Paulig we believe all of us can and should help as individuals as well. Earlier this year, Paulig and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) launched a free-of-charge calculator for Finnish households to help them estimate the amount of the family’s food waste, its climate impacts and monetary value. 

Naturally, Paulig Leadership Team also wanted to try out the calculator. Many of them were already quite good at minimising the food waste in their households and strive to reduce it through their daily choices. Even so, they found the experience of using the calculator very eye-opening and are happy to share their learnings and tips.

Simple ways to avoid food waste in home kitchen

There are several ways to reduce food waste in everyday life. Everything starts with good planning. One of the key findings from our Leadership Team was that they started paying a lot of attention to the amount of food they are buying. 

“I have discovered that by planning the week’s menus in advance, I can avoid buying too much. That way, the food does not expire either.”

However, sometimes it can be challenging to plan all the meals beforehand, which tends to result in too much food being bought and cooked. If that happens, the Leadership Team advises on adhering to simple rules:

“For example, never take more on your plate than what you will eat. You can always top up later if you’re still hungry.”

“I have passed on the habit of always emptying your plate to my kids. They can take only a little but whatever they take, needs to be eaten – even if it was not their favourite food.”

Whatever is left in the pan or pot should also be utilised: you can make a brand-new dish from the leftovers. Inspiration is key. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity and experiment a little!

Also, sharing is caring – and it can be another way to reduce the amount of food waste.

“I have a secret weapon to never wasting food: a good friend who lives next door and has five children. If we happen to buy, for example, too much milk or bread, her family will help us to make sure all of it will be used.”

The experience of using the food waste calculator

With the food waste calculator, Paulig wants to help people to become aware of food waste and its impacts. According to our Leadership Team, this indeed was one result of using it: the food waste calculator started influencing their daily routines. 

For some, the calculator reconfirmed that they need to continuously keep improving their habits to reduce food waste. For many, the food waste index result was even better than they expected. However, the use of the food waste calculator still helped them identify new ways to reduce food waste even more.

“Although my food waste index was pretty low, it reminded me of how even the smallest of choices can amount to a big difference. For example, being persistent about weekly meal planning can really make an impact.”

Try Paulig and Luke’s food waste calculator at www.lessfoodwaste.fi