Recently, I’ve started thinking a lot about wastefulness, as well as how lucky I am to have the opportunities I receive through blogging, particularly when it comes to events and review meals I am invited to. It’s easy to just forget, and take these things for granted. So when I received an invitation to attend the launch event for the Love Food Hate Waste National campaign, Meaty Issues, the timing was perfect!
The event was held on the first floor Craft Market of Smiths of Smithfield. The Craft Market is actually a bar dedicated to craft beer and is a lovely open space while maintaining intimacy, perfect for an event like this.
The focus of Meaty Issues is on beef – can you believe that, in a single year, UK households throw away 34,000 tonnes of beef, worth £260 million? That’s the equivalent to 300 million beef burgers or, for a really sad comparison, the equivalent weight of 47,222 actual cows. Now I did a little research into how much meat you can actually get from a cow, and I worked out that that’s the meat from approximately 150,440 cows. Crazy stuff.
I have some more stats for you;
- 17% of those surveyed admitted to throwing away beef as it had passed its use by date.
- 9% of those surveyed admitted to throwing away beef after leaving it uncovered or in an open packet.
- 30% of those surveyed plan beef meals ahead of shopping for the meat.
- 19% of those surveyed check how much beef they have at home before going shopping for more.
- 20% of those surveyed picked spaghetti bolognese as their favourite beef dish, with a traditional roast beef dinner close behind, being the preference of 18%
The purpose of the Meaty Issues campaign is to highlight this wastefulness, and to demonstrate how a lot of this waste can be avoided by taking little steps, encouraging people to get the best out of their beef. Meaty Issues wants to encourage people to prevent this where possible, by helping with understanding date labels, serving correct portions sizes, cooking with leftovers and planning meals ahead. This not only cuts down on overall wastefulness, but will help people save money and in turn have a positive impact on the environment.
The campaign is backed by Adam Henson – farmer and television presenter of shows including BBC’s Countryfile. Adam isn’t the only high profile face supporting Love Food Hate Waste – Great British Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle was at the event, and had previously been involved in the Loafsaver campaign.
Now, you may remember my recent dabbling with veganism during Veganuary? I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be permanently changing my omnivorous diet anytime soon! But regardless of your stance on the meat industry, and eating animal products, I’m sure something we’ll agree on is that if we’re eating an animal, we should maximise our consumption from that single animal, and minimise waste.
That’s where the demo from Steve of Andrew James Butchery came in. While showing us all the different cuts that you could get from a cow, Steve explained that, nowadays, all the value of a cow is in the middle. There are so many unusual cuts from other parts of the animal which could be put to good use, but most people just don’t know to ask for them. If the general public start asking their butchers for these less common, and often cheaper, cuts, not only will we be wasting less of the cow, but helping the farming industry, as it would allow for a higher price per cow to be paid to the farmers.
During the butchery demonstration, we were treated to a selection of starters all using less utilised cuts of beef. On my plate I had Thai beef salad, beef ravioli and arancini with beef ragu. It was all delicious. I would never have guessed that the beef used was not from a part of the cow I’m used to eating.
The same applied to the sit down main course – braised heel of beef. We were shown the heel during the butchery demo, and it’s basically the beef version of a lamb shank (so much bigger!). It was similar in texture to a lamb shank really – I enjoyed it.
Here are some of Love Food Hate Wastes tips for getting the best from beef;
- Use leftover roast beef not only in sandwiches, but in cottage pies and soups, or shredded and used in stir fries.
- Make beef portions go a bit further by adding chick peas, kidney beans, potatoes etc to Mexican and curry meals.
- Check sell by dates so you know when your beef needs to be used by, and freeze if necessary.
- Small portions freeze best and can be added from frozen to your dish (just check it’s piping hot before serving).
- Use the resources on the Love Food Hate Waste site – such as the portion planner and the recipe finder to find ways to use smaller portions and cheaper cuts.
And a few tip for other meats;
- Before roasting a chicken, cut off and freeze the wings – after three or four roasts you’ll have enough wings for another meal.
- Freeze leftover sausage to make sausage rolls.
- Freeze bacon by putting greaseproof paper between the rashers so you can use them individually from frozen.
- Use marinades to boost the flavour of meat approaching its use by date or which has been in the freezer for a while. For chicken try soy sauce, honey and mustard. For beef try chilli flakes, ginger and coriander. For lamb try garlic, rosemary and lemon juice.
You can find more tips from Love Food Hate Waste for making the most of your meat here.
Love Food Hate Waste are running a competition here – they’re looking for tricks to make meat go further or leftover meat recipes, and you can win one of three slow cookers!
I won’t be entering because I’m not the greatest cook, but I will be putting more thought into my meat consumption for sure…
All photos my own.