I like food. I like eating it. I like thinking about eating it. Chances are, you like food too. Yet, we waste around one third of the food we produce globally. That doesn’t sound like we like food very much. And while it might feel like I’m saving money by buying that jumbo-sized sack of potatoes I will never finish, our food-wasting habits cost us $1.17 billion as a country every year. The solution seems simple: the less food we waste, the less money we waste too. Even better, by reducing the amount of food sitting rotting in the landfill, the lower our methane emissions – you know, the big no-no cow bum stuff which is kind of fucking up our planet. This list of apps, hacks and charitable acts will see you saving money and the planet while you eat.
If you haven’t already gotten on the Foodprint buzz, who are you and what do you have against cheap food? Foodprint is an app which allows cafe’s to sell the food leftover at the end of the day for seriously reduced prices – a minimum 50% discount. Their mission is to reduce the 50,000 tonnes of yearly food waste from the hospitality industry, most of which is completely avoidable. It’s a triple threat of saving money, saving perfectly good kai from the landfill and supporting your local cafes. Eateries on the app that are close to Uni include &Sushi, Scarecrow, Raw Power and Shortland Street Cafes. Revive is also prolific on Foodprint, and for just a short walk through Albert Park you can get their large meal (normally $15) for as little as $6!
Imagine: you and your flatmates each get given a free bottle of Trident Sweet Chilli Sauce from AUSA at O Week. What a steal! Except now you have 6 bottles of sickly sweet syrup clogging up your much-needed pantry space, expiry date looming. As you frantically google “uses for sweet chilli sauce” other than dunking, you begin to realise how Sweet Chilli Sauce really is not the most versatile of condiments. You are dangerously close to drenching your entire body in the stuff when thankfully you hear about Olio.
Olio is an app which lets you list your excess food for people to come and rescue. That means not only can you get rid of your unwanted condiments, but you can help your neighbours clean out their pantries too. As I write this there are various canned foods, noodles, tea and snacks up for grabs. Get in quick though! These items are in hot demand because it’s all completely free.
Speaking of hot demand, Olio could even double as a dating app as you scope out the cuties that live in your area while you lend them a cup of sugary-sweet chilli sauce.
Let’s be real, supermarkets are a rip-off for fruit and veges. Instead, look up your local farmers’ market. And if the words “farmers’ market” have you in a cold sweat envisioning kombucha and gluten free sourdough, then think again. This isn’t Matakana sweetieaty, I’m talking about the Avondale Racecourse or Wesley Park in Mt Roskill/ Sandringham. Just good, local, seasonal produce at super cheap prices. Yes, that carrot might have slightly more *personality* than the ones at Countdown, but they can keep their carbon-emitting, refrigerated aisles, these veges are chilled by the crisp morning air.
On a smaller scale, look for maps online of your local community gardens. Rather than buying that Superb Herb potted plant which will inevitably meet its untimely demise on your kitchen windowsill, take only what you need from a local herb garden. It doesn’t have to be an established community garden either; herbs like rosemary are rampant. Auckland suburbs are also littered with fruit trees, from apples to avocados, figs and feijoas. Save the little ones from rotting on the ground and make some feijoa wine for when even the goon gets too expensive.
Food stores where you can refill are another way to save money and ensure you are only buying exactly what you need. It’s like an adult version of the pick and mix aisle. They are also often wrongly classed as being expensive or bougie. However, places like Bin Inn are miles cheaper than the supermarket, and even the more up-market GoodFor is releasing an essentials range at lower prices. Indian supermarkets like Lotus in Mt Roskill, or Arjun in New Lynn have self-serve bins of all the essential grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and spices for a mere few dollars a kilo. Remember to bring your own containers or bags to earn your real eco badge of honour and hours of fun at the check out trying to remember if that was flour in that bag – or cornflour? Or was it baking soda? How about icing sugar?
The Everybody Eats pay-as-you-feel restaurant started as a pop up in St Kevins Arcade on Monday nights, and now also has a full on restaurant in Onehunga Mall, five nights a week. As the name says, everybody and anybody is free to come and enjoy an amazing three-course meal, cooked by some of Auckland’s greatest chefs.The concept is simple: make a donation of whatever you feel comfortable paying. It’s also a charity though, so don’t take the piss. A good starting point is what you would have paid for that meal on a night out – somewhere between a chicken on chips at Sensash and a chargrilled crayfish at Amano. And, with most of the food they use being rescued or donated from supermarkets, bakeries or growers you can walk away with a good feed, and a good feeling inside. Everybody wins!
So next time your Studylink is low and your stomach is rumbling, think about how you can do good by the planet, and your bank balance, at the same time.