As a nation we waste 4.5 million tonnes of food each year . Putting this in perspective – this represents 375,000 refuse collecting vehicles, which, if you parked nose to tail would circumnavigate the M25 thirteen times. Just imagine the sheer and shocking food waste that represents.
Latest figures show, on average, British households throw out food which has either passed its sell-by date or is surplus to needs, to the tune of £700 per year.
But there is a chink of light, lockdown has made many re-think their relationship with food, as the need to do more cooking became a necessity, so did the revelation of food waste become more prominent.
In a recent survey, 84% of those questioned claimed to have shifted their thinking and now believe food waste is an important national issue.
One important food category, mushrooms, are benefiting from this change in British attitude. UK and Irish mushroom growers are seeing this as further proof that their product is becoming more and more recognised as a food hero.
The fact that mushrooms are one of the best sources of vitamin D – something that has been significantly highlighted as a force for good health – along with their year-round availability, affordability, and overall nutrition, has elevated this unassuming vegetable into the food super league.
Another fact which makes the mushroom extra special, along with tomatoes (except tomatoes are fruit) is the fact that mushrooms can make a meal anytime, from breakfast (on toast, or alongside a full English), to dinner with a Stroganoff or chicken casserole- there is nowhere a mushroom can’t go. It has proven to be a hero, sustainable ingredient used in home-cooking, witnessing a large surge in sales over the pandemic.
Mushrooms are not just an inherently sustainable ingredient, but also require fewer growing materials, water and energy than any other type of crops. Unlike the avocado, which use over 25 million cubic metres annually of water – equivalent to 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Mushrooms are one of life’s easy veg to cultivate. Grown in ‘growing houses’ they can either be picked as button mushrooms or allowed to grow for longer and qualify as large mushrooms.