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How to cook and eat more sustainably

Whether it's an unfinished meal or yet another forgotten bag of lettuce at the back of the fridge, food waste spells bad news for both our planet and wallets. With a change of mindset, a few food hacks, and some seriously smart products, we can all help to make food waste a thing of the past, starting this very second.

The MasterChef Canada logo. In the background are several IKEA 365+ food containers used to store food are organized on shelves in a pantry.

The IKEA Sustainable Pantry on MasterChef Canada

This year, MasterChef Canada competitors will source their ingredients from the IKEA sustainable pantry. What makes a pantry sustainable? We’re glad you asked.

  • Food that gets used, doesn’t go to waste. Storing ingredients in air-tight containers helps keep them fresher for longer. Clear containers make it easy to see what you have, increasing the likelihood that you’ll use it. That’s why our KORKEN and IKEA 365+ jars and containers are made of clear glass and have rubber gasket lids for a tight seal.
  • Plants can be a pantry staple too. When you grow herbs and vegetables at home, you reduce waste by being able to snip off exactly as much thyme or basil as your recipe calls for. And you don’t need lots of space or a green thumb to do it, our gardening tools and pots make it easy.
  • Sustainably sourced food. Eating sustainably starts with ingredients that are grown, raised, and sourced in more sustainable ways. That can mean buying local in-season produce to reduce the impact of transportation, or packaged goods that bear a certification, such as certified organic, or UTZ cocoa, indicating more sustainable farming practices.

    Video: Two white HÅLLBAR recycling bins, the lid of one opens and a hand in the foreground tosses in a can.

    Giving rubbish a new life

    Even if you live frugally, there’s always a certain amount of waste associated with food. But you can deal with these byproducts in ways that reduce the burden on the environment.

    If you have a garden or a balcony, you can make compost from most kitchen scraps, rather than send them to a landfill. And why not grow your own vegetables from the roots that you would otherwise throw away? You can put the bottom of a lettuce or a spring onion into a small jar of water and, once rooted, plant on in soil.

    As for food packaging – all those wrappers, cartons, jars and tins – you can save time and keep your home neater with a separate container for each type of recyclable material. There’s a wide range of both freestanding and built-in options, such as HÅLLBAR series, to keep mess out of sight until recycling day.

    Then you can give yourself a pat on the back for giving those unwanted materials a new purpose in life.

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    Video: A stack of several food containers of different sizes, with fruits and vegetables inside, animates up and down.

    Waste not, want not

    Experts estimate that up to a third of the world’s food supply goes to waste each year. Just a small change to kitchen habits can help to reduce this huge figure.

    When you go shopping, you can be careful to only buy as much perishable food as you can use before it expires. And, once at home, you can store the ingredients in transparent containers within easy reach. The fresh food can last a bit longer and you’ll remember what to eat first.

    Leftovers from dinner can go into a food container, rather than the bin. You can chill or freeze them for a quick and easy lunch on another day. The affordably-priced IKEA 365+ glass containers are oven-safe, so you can store, heat and serve all from the same dish. That cuts down on the washing-up, too.

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