Ditch the packaging: it’s time to loosen up

When in the supermarket, choose fruit and vegetables that don’t have packaging and stick to a...
When in the supermarket, choose fruit and vegetables that don’t have packaging and stick to a shopping list — it helps reduce costs. Photo: Getty Image
Buy fruit and veges loose, not in packaging, urges the team at Love Food Hate Waste.

It is that time again when we celebrate Food Waste Action Week. This year it is all about "choose what you’ll use", a call to action highlighting the benefits of buying your fruits and vegetables loose instead of packaged. By doing this we could reduce food waste by up to 14,000 tonnes, just by buying loose apples, bananas and potatoes.

Choosing what you will use also encourages a mindful approach to our food-shopping habits. Think twice before reaching for that bag of produce out of convenience, or don’t be tempted by a multi-buy deal. Ask yourself "will I be able to get through the lot?" or "do I have enough space in my fridge or pantry to properly store it all?".

One handy action that can help navigate the grocery shop is to make a shopping list. This is to make sure we only buy what we need. Then the next thing is to stick to the list. Write your shopping list in the way that works with you, whether that’s using a pen and paper, an app on your phone, or another way. Just make sure that you will remember to take it with you when you do your shop.

You may have also heard the saying "never shop on an empty stomach". This is one of our top tips on how to stick to the shopping list. Shopping hungry pretty much guarantees you will overbuy, as everything you see in store will look appealing. So make sure you have had a meal or a snack before shopping. This way your stomach won’t take charge and make you put all sorts of random or unnecessary items in your trolley.

Sometimes it is tempting to overrule the list and stock up on specials, because the discount is too good to pass up. When it comes to fruit and veges though, they may go off before you can eat them, so it is only worth it if you eat it.

As pumpkin is coming into season again, buying a whole pumpkin can be a cost-effective way to feed your family. But unless you have lots of mouths to feed, you may find you get bored mid-way through your pumpkin. If you are looking for an idea to add to the dinner menu or use up leftover mashed pumpkin, check out our Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe on this page.

Photo: Love Food Hate Waste
Photo: Love Food Hate Waste

Pumpkin gnocchi


1 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed or pureed

1 cup plain flour, plus extra for working

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg (optional)

1 Tbsp butter

5 sprigs of fresh thyme or œ tsp dried herbs of your choice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped



1. Place the pumpkin, flour, salt and nutmeg (if using) into a bowl and mix using a fork until it just comes together.

2. Divide the mixture into three portions; it may be sticky to touch, but that is all right.

3. Generously spread flour on a working surface and gently roll out the mixture into a long cylinder shape until it is about 1.5cm in diameter.

4. Cut the mixture into equal lengths of your choice, then place on to a tray and cover with a damp cloth as you continue cutting the rest of the mixture.

5. Repeat the rolling and cutting process until all of the mixture has been cut.

6. Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook them in batches. Let the gnocchi boil for 5-7 minutes or until it floats to the top.

7. Drain the gnocchi pieces and place into a sauce of your choice or in the brown butter glaze.

8. To make the glaze, place the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and let it melt and simmer until some brown specs appear, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

9. Add the herbs and let it infuse in the butter for about a minute, then add the garlic and cook until it turns a light golden brown colour.

10. Toss the gnocchi pieces through the warm glaze and serve with more herbs on top.


The gnocchi works well with other sauces too, including creamy pasta sauces.

Let us know

 - We would love to hear your food shopping tips and how you "choose what you’ll use". Join us from Monday, March 18 @lovefoodhatewastenz on Facebook and Instagram to celebrate #FoodWasteActionWeek. Visit our website, lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz for more information.