Pantry Challenge 2020

by Kylie Foster January 24, 2020 2 Comments

Pantry Challenge 2020 with Kiwi Family Kitchen NZ

Huge amounts of food are wasted every year. A lot of food grown never makes it to market due to it not meeting commercial requirements that have nothing to do with the nutritional value of the food. A lot of food gets wasted in our own kitchens. And most people find food to be a BIG part of their weekly expenditure. So, in the context of getting back to basics and living more sustainably, and being totally inspired by others doing a similar challenge in the US, I decided it was time to challenge myself and I thought you might like to join in too.

What is this challenge all about?

The overall goal is to reduce food waste or food-associated waste if food packaging is a big one you need to address. How you do that is entirely up to you because it needs to be appropriate and meaningful to you and your household without compromising your health. Pick something or a couple of things to commit to for the entire month of February.

For me, in running this challenge and aside from my goals for my household, I want to build up a community of people who inspire each other to live more simply and sustainably.

Reducing Food Waste NZ

How long does the challenge go for?

The challenge lasts the entire month of February. It's ok if you cannot do the whole month; any attempts towards living more sustainably and reducing food waste are awesome steps in the right direction.

How can I reduce food waste?

Here are some ideas to get you started. Hopefully something in this list will resonate with you (as in you'll think "yup, I really need to do this") or prompt other ideas.

  • Meal plan so that you are only buying what you need each week. This stops excess items going to waste.
  • Use up older items in your freezer whilst the quality is still good.
  • Tidy your pantry and use up food items that are getting near their "best before" dates.
  • Use items in your pantry that have been there for a while but not being used. If you've enjoyed the meals you've created with them, you know it's a good item to buy again.
  • Store produce in your fridge well to extend it's shelf life.
  • Clean out and reorganise your fridge so you can "see" everything in there.
  • Freeze leftovers or take them for lunch.
  • Plan to use leftovers in meals the next day.
  • Find ways to use "scraps" to create something new e.g. soup using the chicken bones from a roast meal or using radish leaves in pesto rather than throwing them out.
  • Preserve (can, freeze, pickle, dehydrate) excess produce now to enjoy in later months (lots of plum, rhubarb and corn around right now!).
  • Sharing food with others to avoid wastage.
  • On a slightly different tangent, you might decide to tackle packaging waste or completely stop buying your lunch / takeaways.

Lunch Freezer Meal Ideas NZ

What should my goal be?

Your goal should be something that resonates with you based on your living situation and needs. It does not need to be huge and please don't sacrifice your health for this challenge.

The most rewarding goals are ones that benefit you in some way. As examples, meal planning has the benefit of reducing food waste, saving you money and reducing stress around what to cook for dinner (you'll also feel mega organised). Preserving your own food has the benefit of reducing food waste, saving you money, giving you lovely food to eat when it's out of season and generally making your feel like a domestic goddess.

Pick something that feels right and achievable for you. 

How should I do the challenge?

This is purely a suggestion:

  1. Set a goal (it can be really useful to talk about this with your family/household)
  2. Decide on the actions you need to take to reach that goal.
  3. Work those actions and tweak as you need to.
  4. Share how you are going - the ups, downs, successes and learnings.
  5. Reflect on how you went against your goal and note your learnings for next time.

Reducing food waste will likely save you money. You might like to start the challenge with a note on what you usually spend on food each week (include all of it - takeaways, meals out, grocery shopping etc) and compare that to your spending during the challenge. There might be another metric you'd prefer to use.

How can I share what I'm doing?

I will be sharing what my household are doing mostly in stories on Instagram with a weekly round-up via our newsletter (sign up if you haven't already). I'd love to share what you are up to as well so please tag me in your posts or stories and I will share those in my stories. If you love a bit of hashtag action, you can use #kiwipantrychallenge2020.

I'd love to build up a community of people supporting and celebrating each others efforts during this challenge. This sort of challenge isn't always easy and there will be times when we might feel like we've failed or start to lose motivation. It's during these times that a community comes into it's own. It's also really inspiring seeing what others are doing.

So, are you in?

If so, yay! And, I really look forward to seeing/hearing how you go. If not, check out what we get up to on Instagram, you never know, you might be inspired.


Kylie Foster
Kylie Foster


2 Responses

Kylie Foster
Kylie Foster

February 01, 2020

That’s a great idea Diane! Thanks for sharing. Kylie

Diane Murphy
Diane Murphy

February 01, 2020

Hi Kylie. To help reduce food waste I have a jar in my freezer for soup veges. When I have leftover veges, roast onion or broccoli stems I add them to the jar. Next time I’m wanting vege soup I add the frozen veges to my stock. When the soup is ready I whiz the veges with my hand blender to make a lovely thick vege soup.

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