What is No Waste Within?
No Waste Within is a campaign started within the food-blogging community to cut down on the amount of, and ultimately eliminate, food waste created by the development, cooking, styling and photographing of recipes.
Why food bloggers?
The food-blogging industry has taken the world by storm. Recent studies show that more than 77% of Internet users regularly read blogs* and, in particular, the food, travel and lifestyle industries are those that attract the most notice – and money. A good review or a clever recipe from an influential blogger can put a brand, ingredient or diet on the map.
But, with the creation and distribution of these recipes naturally comes a lot of waste food – from the recipe trials that go wrong, to the sheer quantities of food that need to be purchased and prepped just for one perfect piece, the styling attempts that require additional food props and the photographs that have to be redone. Much of the food becomes inedible after hours of sitting under hot lights and being readjusted and so, unfortunately, has to be thrown away.
So, how did the campaign start?
This waste of food did not sit well with one food blogger; Emma Dawson, author and cook behind The Food Brood, started a debate in a food-blogging group asking how other bloggers justified the waste they made.
Emma was facing an ethical dilemma, torn between her talents as a recipe developer with a desire to promote her food, and her conscience as a meal-planning coach, eager to rationalise the expense of the ingredients. She had chosen to focus her blog on simple family meals with just six ingredients or fewer and, as a busy mum of two little ones, she was feeding her family everything she cooked for the blog and quickly snapping photos in between. The advantage of this system was that there was never any waste food – but it came at the expense of styling and photography.
One of the first to comment in Emma’s debate was Zoe Morrison of Eco Thrifty Living. Zoe had left her job in 2012 to become a stay-at-home mum, and had started her blog focusing on how her family maintained its standards of living while on a single income – in particular in terms of saving money while saving the planet. She has long been a commentator on developments in the environmentally-conscious world and is a library of information on practices people can try in their own homes. She’s even writing a course on reducing kitchen waste in the home!
Zoe was intrigued by Emma’s questions and, in particular, the concern that food bloggers as a group could do more to address the problem of food waste in their kitchens. Perhaps a better balance could be found between the aesthetics and the usefulness of the food used by bloggers? After a great number of emails back and forth, the campaign for No Waste Within was born!
How can I get involved?
It’s simple! If you are a food blogger (or work in the food industry) and support the campaign for No Waste Within then you are encouraged to display the NWW logo on your website and write a blog post about it to help educate others. You need to have a commitment to reducing, and ultimately eliminating, food waste from your recipe process, as detailed in the pledge:
“I promise that no food waste was created by the development, cooking, styling and photographing of this recipe and that, where it wasn’t possible for me to enjoy it myself, I have redistributed, repurposed, retained or recycled the food.”
Then, if a recipe you publish genuinely produces no waste (as detailed in the pledge), you are entitled to stamp the recipe and/or recipe images with the NWW button – a badge of honour for your work.
Visit Join in for full instructions.
Why is No Waste Within important?
In the UK, 70% of all post-farm-gate food waste comes from households. It costs the average family £700 a year and can give off methane in landfills – a greenhouse gas.
And the impact that food bloggers have on these households is only growing. Pinterest recipes posted by food bloggers, foodie Instagram accounts and personal food blogs reach hundreds of thousands of people every day.
Through the No Waste Within campaign, we want people to start thinking about how much they throw away from their own kitchens, and what better way to start than within the industry itself? If the influential and popular food bloggers are seen to be taking a stand against food waste, then surely the rest of the world will follow?
How can I cut down on food waste as a blogger?
Cutting down on food waste as a blogger is never going to be easy as there are certain industry standards that are expected.
The first stage is trying to cut down (as much as possible) on the sheer amount of waste produced during the recipe’s development – everything from the recipe trials to the cooking, garnishing and styling.
Secondly, by “redistributed, repurposed, retained or recycled” we are suggesting that bloggers might think about what happens to their food after it has been photographed – by donating their food (to a shelter or even to animals!), reusing the parts in a new recipe, keeping the food in the fridge or freezer to eat later in the week or, if all else fails, recycling it on the compost heap. Anything but throwing it out as food waste.
Every little change you make helps, and there are a number of simple ways you can try to do your bit for the No Waste Within campaign:
- Have all your equipment set up for your shots before you cook your recipe so that the food is not waiting around for too long while you get ready – and thus not spoiling.
- Make sure you buy ONLY what you need to cook the recipe, if you can.
- If not, try to think about how you can use up anything that is left over – can you donate it, repurpose it or simply store/freeze it for future use?
- Cut down on artificial brighteners/sprays and anything that makes the food inedible after it has been photographed.
- If you’ve got vegetable peelings and salad bits left, put them on the compost heap or feed them to some animals!
- Big-scale bloggers can think about donating entire meals to worthwhile causes, including shelters, in the way that large supermarkets do.
- If you are using fresh garnishes to finish your dishes, then eat them too!
- Try to plan your weekly meals around what you are cooking so that they find a good home after being blogged.