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Don’t just eat it – compleat it

Love Food Hate Waste, 30 October 2019, Auckland NZ: The Compleat food waste campaign launches today - how smashing, mashing and hashing your spuds can lead the way in helping New Zealanders reduce food waste and combat climate change.

Consider the humble spud. Who doesn’t love them and their versatility? As Samwise Gamgee declares in the Lord of the Rings film: ‘Po-tay-toes! Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.’

Unfortunately, however, the host of ways to serve up your spuds rarely include a vital part – the skin. In New Zealand, we throw out 7,039 tonnes of potato peelings each year, even though this is where most of the nutrients and fibre goodness are contained.

And potatoes aren’t the only waste culprits on our plate. Total food waste for NZ sits at a whopping 157,398 tonnes per year, costing the average household $644 annually and creating one of our biggest environmental challenges. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

This is where the Compleat campaign from Love Food Hate Waste comes in. “If everyone took action and compleated their food, we could make a huge difference to the planet, our diets and our purses,” says Jenny Marshall of Love Food Hate Waste.

Love Food Hate Waste has been investigating how well people in New Zealand compleat their food, and it turns out that some valuable food staples – like potatoes, bread, and apples – are wasted simply because of personal preference:

• Each year New Zealanders throw out 15,174 tonnes of bread - the equivalent of 6 loaves of bread per person every single year. Almost 20% of that is made up of crusts and end slices, which many simply choose not to eat even though 40% of the weight of the average loaf is made up of crust.
• Broccoli stalks are perfectly edible, delicious and nutritious, but these are commonly wasted. Of the people Love Food Hate Waste surveyed, 37% of people never eat their broccoli stalks and so we throw out 282 tonnes of them each year.

• 10% of us always peel our vegetables before cooking yet carrots, beetroots, and other root veggies are perfectly edible without peeling. All they need is a quick wash before preparing – saving time as well as reducing waste.

The Compleat campaign is filled with tips, recipes and information on how to make the most of every bit of your food. “Compleating is more than just how you cook – it’s a whole food philosophy, one that can save you money while you look after the planet,” says Sophie Gray, aka The Destitute Gourmet and Editor of Food Magazine. Sophie has recently created a series of videos called WastenotWantnot demonstrating easy recipes for Compleating with everyday ingredients. Look out for them on her Facebook and Instagram or find them on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Here are some of her top compleating hacks:

• Stash crusts in the freezer and use for bread and butter puddings, you can make them quickly in the microwave or bake in the oven for lovely crispy bits.
• Layer torn leftover bread with eggs, milk, cheese and savoury fillings, bake and serve for a weekend brunch or lunch
• Make bubble and squeak, potato cakes, tattie scones or hash browns from your spuds. Scrub don’t peel - the skins are the most nourishing part.
• Slice the broccoli and cauliflower stalks when you are cooking the florets; add them to stir fries and curries or use raw in slaw or salad.

To find or share more tips for compleating your food, visit and be sure to spread the word about the five week ‘Compleat’ campaign.


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