As well as chairing the Mayor’s London Food Board, Boycott has made a recent appearance on BBC One’s Celebrity Masterchef and is the owner of a small organic farm. She told MRW: “We have lost the art of thinking about what we do with food to stop food waste. For example, just the simple things like smelling or looking to see if food is off or not.
“We have to question when we go shopping, ‘Do we really need that?’ ‘Is there something we can re-use in the fridge instead?’ If we do these small things we will be better off for it and in the process we will eat healthier and cut down on obesity.”
With a third of London’s food currently being thrown away, the message is that by making food go further, Londoners can save money, help the planet by cutting carbon emissions, send less food to landfill, and enjoy new dishes.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Londoners chuck away a mind-boggling amount of perfectly edible food, some of which could instead be used to make a great tasting meal. It is high time we treated that lonely dish of marooned mashed potato or plate of rice relegated to the back of the fridge with the respect it deserves. It makes sense for your wallet, as well as for the good of the planet, to make your food go further.”
The Mayor’s announcement comes after Environment Secretary Hilary Benn called for supermarkets to give clear advice to consumers on best before dates to avoid confusion (see MRW story).
Boycott said she only took notice of sell-by labels for fish and meat and ignored them for other food products.
She added: “I feel it is bad for my soul when I throw away food. In the end, controlling our food waste will be good for the heart and the soul.”
Chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall said: “Waste not want not, isn’t some dreary, outdated mantra, it’s a principle that can help all of us eat wisely and well.”
London Assembly Environment Committee chair Murad Qureshi said: “First of all we need to clear our plates. The best way of dealing with food waste is to put it into your stomach. The human digestive system is the best way to deal with food. I am still staggered by the amount of food thrown away by restaurants.
“When I cook I am adamant that I keep the bones on the meat because the food tends to taste better. But the bone normally comes out of the food waste chain. I think a curry taste better with the meat on the bone. But you have a lot of restaurants these days who take it off the bone because they say that their customers like it better. This creates food waste.”
The Mayor’s London Waste and Recycling Board aims to spend £31 million over the next three years on projects to boost the conversion of food waste into energy.