What shall I eat today? Eat what’s going to expire first!

What shall I eat today? Eat what’s going to expire first!

May 16, 2019

What shall I eat today? Eat what’s going to expire first!

FIFO (First In, First Out) is an acronym used in business administration and accounting but it’s also a useful strategy for reducing food waste and making a real contribution to food sustainability.

In fact, food that has been in the refrigerator or food cupboard for longer should be the first to be used. It seems easy, but what can you do to reduce food waste? There are three basic rules:

1. Organize food by expiration date 

To avoid wasting food, for example by forgetting to eat it while it’s fresh, arrange it so that the one closest to expiring is more visible, and can therefore be eaten earlier. This rule applies to arranging food in the refrigerator, freezer or food cupboard. If the food does not have an expiration date (for example in the case of frozen leftovers), it is important to remember to mark the packaging with the date on which the food was cooked. 

2. Organize food by sector

According to the FIFO method, to reduce food waste, the refrigerator and food cupboard should always be organized so that the same types of food are placed close together. For example, all pasta packets should be placed in the same area of the food cupboard and, within this area, even the same pasta shapes should be kept close together.

This presents many advantages, as it allows you to consume food more evenly and know at a glance what is missing, which avoids buying excessive stocks and therefore wasting food.

3. Maintaining the system

The FIFO method was developed in the field of logistics and was adopted, for example, by fast food outlets, which produce the best-selling sandwiches in advance, keep them on the service line for a predetermined time and remove them only when they are no longer fresh enough to be eaten. As restaurants lose money if there is a lot of food waste, they record which foods are less consumed and any production errors in order to correct them. The same should be done at home: there are moments, such as seasonal changes, when certain foods lose their appeal. In summer, people eat more fruit and vegetables, in winter more soups. The risk of wasting food is high precisely at transition times and especially for fresh products. Keeping the FIFO system going at home can take some time and may require the use of a special program (like the many shopping list apps now available), but the financial savings are tangible.

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