And Emma Marsh, head of Love Food Hate Waste, says: "We need to make better use of our fridges and freezers." On newer models there are "fresh" zones and compartments that really do make food last longer — but eight out of 10 of us don't know how to use them.
One problem is that manufacturers use a host of different names to describe similar features. However, most good new fridge/freezers have separate fridge and freezer sections with their own insulation, evaporator and controls. Fanned air evens out fridge temperatures and there are new types of drawers that will precisely control temperature and humidity at different levels for meat, fish and dairy products, with special zones for fruit and veg. Short, sharp bursts of cool/freezing air help newly stored food stay fresh longer.
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Date labels on packaging are crucial for avoiding food waste. The Food Standards Agency explains them best on food.gov.uk. The "use by" date matters most — eating food beyond that may not be safe. But, it says, "'best before" dates are more about quality than safety (with the exception of eggs). The "little red tractor" stamp on labels means farmers and growers are working to an agreed set of standards, so products meet food safety, hygiene, animal welfare and environmental regulations. Read your fridge/freezer instruction book and visit lovefoodhatewaste.com.
Perfect your storage
* Meat is ideally kept in a dedicated chiller drawer. In older fridges place it on the lowest shelf possible.
* Salad needs air circulation — use the special salad drawer in your fridge.
* Fruit and root veg best kept in a cool cupboard. They can go in the fridge salad drawer but ripening fruit gives off spoiling ethylene gas, so keep it separate from green veg and salad. Keep bananas separate from apples.
* Eggs store in your fridge's special racks but take them out a couple of hours before using them in baking. Do not use beyond the "best by" date. You can freeze eggs by cracking them open and mixing them with either salt or sugar (depending on future use) and covering them.
* Cheese remove the plastic wrapping and loosely wrap in paper (greaseproof is best). Cheese will freeze for up to three months.
*Milk freezable in plastic bottles.
* Potatoes remove any plastic wrapping and potatoes will keep in a cool, dark place for about a month. Don't refrigerate them as this spoils the taste.
* Mushrooms wrap them in paper to stop them sweating.
* Olive oil stored in a cool, dark place it will keep for 18 months. It solidifies in the fridge but the flavour isn't affected.
* Cool shopping in W1 start at John Lewis on Oxford Street, then visit Miele at 15/19 Cavendish Place. Finish off nearby at the Gaggenau showroom, 40 Wigmore Street.