Helping children understand the importance of reducing food waste at a young age is an important part of the Sainsbury’s Waste less, Save more campaign.
The Fab Food scheme gets pupils involved in reducing food waste in schools, from measuring how much is thrown away to thinking up new ways to tackle the problem.
Fab Food was piloted at Eureka Primary School, where food waste was reduced by an impressive 37 per cent over a six-month period.
The five-step program involved a food waste audit, bespoke action plan, Sainsbury’s store tours, interventions such as awareness weeks and a final audit to gauge the success of the project.
At Eureka, much of the waste was down to unfinished meals, with leftovers getting scraped into the bin. Servers were encouraged to take more care over portion sizes, while staff had the chance to eat lunchtime leftovers or take food home.
Pupils designed badges and posters, while the school held assemblies with guest speakers and even magicians demonstrating how edible food can ‘disappear’. A Waste Awareness Week included tasting sessions to open kids up to trying new foods.
Waste reduction was measured in the school and there are plans to get more feedback on how the children’s involvement in the project might have helped change behaviour at home.
Eureka head Jacqui Johnson believes the messages may have filtered home and helped change parents’ attitudes to food waste. And the school plans to build on this with a monthly cookery class for pupils and parents on weekends, using on-site kitchen facilities to show how leftovers can be turned into delicious dishes.
“The idea is that families bring along leftovers or unused produce to have a cooking session, learn something and eat some nice food,” said Jacqui. “It helps get the message across that lots of the food thrown away is actually fine to eat.”
Following Eureka’s success, Fab Food is being rolled out to other schools in Swadlincote, including Belmont, Woodville Junior, Woodville Infants, Church Gresley and Stanton. There are also hopes that some children will become ambassadors for the scheme.
Kate Allies, Environmental Development Manager for South Derbyshire District Council, said: “When you work with pupils over a few weeks you can see the change in their attitudes and interest around food. You also see them learning to take responsibility for their own and the shared food waste and finding out what happens to it. It’s great to see them taking the message home and when you meet them with their parents out of school they take great delight in giving you updates.”