Sunday, 8 April 2012

Can you become Kitchen Canny too?

Mellow Mummy has been following the Kitchen Canny plan to see if she can reduce her family's food wastage and food costs. Could you be Kitchen Canny too?

On week one of the Kitchen Canny challenge, all we had to do was to place into our Kitchen Canny waste sack, any leftover food that couldn't be eaten due to us having bought too much or cooked too much – we also had to keep track of any waste liquids that we threw away too and make a note of why everything couldn't be eaten and about how much it would have cost us. I think that at the end of that first week, we had established that the Mellow family are not a wasteful family despite having a toddler in our midsts (feeding a toddler can at times be very wasteful if they simply aren't in the mood for what you offer them to eat). Week One and the contents of our bag was a leaf of left-over iceberg lettuce that our daughter had tried but turned her nose up at, about 15ml of unwanted orange juice and one moldy onion (that I suspect was already manky when we bought it). Our waste bag was more or less empty – I calculated the contents to come to approximately 15p. Yay us.

Despite this, we continued using the Kitchen Canny kit to see if there was anything we could learn and improve in the way that we shop, plan, cook and eat our weekly family meals.

During Week 2 we learned about taking stock of all of the food we already had in the cupboards to see if there was anything we could use up before its best before dates. Then we set about coming up with creative ideas for recipes that used what we already had to eat (before even thinking about doing any grocery shopping). Once we had some ideas, we worked out what food we needed to buy in order to top up the cupboards with all of the ingredients we needed to produce our creative masterpieces. None of this was ground-breaking to us – producing a weekly shopping list REALLY does help you reduce your grocery bills as it helps you focus on what you really need. It did help though to be prompted to use up stuff in the cupboard while you can, and some of the more advanced tips in the Kitchen Canny kit were very helpful (if only common sense).

Last week we then started thinking about portion sizes (making sure you only cook what you need to eat so that there are no leftovers!) and about how to store food (both cooked and uncooked) so that it lasts longer and doesn't need to be thrown away. I found the most useful section of the whole Kitchen Canny kit to be about the best ways to store foods – ways to freeze fruit, vegetables and fish for use at a later date and ways to bring back food from the dead! These are all skills I'm hoping to apply in the run up to my new baby's arrival ( a freezer full of food will be handy) and in the days after when I'm not in the mood for shopping.

Next week it is time for us to track our progress – ordinarily you would do this by comparing your weekly contents of one of the Kitchen Canny waste bags with that of the first week to see how much you've improved... I guess we have to aim for a totally empty bag this time around!

I think the Kitchen Canny kit could make a big difference to the shopping and eating habits of some families and I really really hope it would help people to reduce their shopping bills by shopping more wisely and making steps to reduce the amounts of food they throw away, whether or not they realise they are doing so. I also think that for slightly older children, the Kitchen Canny kit could be a brilliant way to teach them about food wastage – by allowing them to place their own left-overs in the waste bag each week it could teach some important lessons about where the food now goes, and what it could have been used for. Coming up with fun recipes by rummaging in the cupboards together is also a great way to bring the family together.

The Kitchen Canny Kit costs £10 plus postage. The kit includes your magnetised food planner, 3 kitchen waste sacks so that you can measure your wastage, a sticker and your weekly step-by-step cards to guide you through the process. It also includes online access to the Kitchen Canny facebook app to help you track your food usage and a community of other users with whom you can share deas for using up those small bits of food in your fridge. By following the plan, not only could you save yourself upto £550 a year, but you can also do your bit for the environment by reducing your waste.


  1. It does sound like a lot of hard work and effort though... ;)

  2. Thanks for the great review Mellow Mummy! It does sound like you're already conscious about not wasting food but, as you said, it is a good way of bringing the family together. And Kip, we understand it may sound like effort but the kit allows you to do the steps in your own time...the benefits it can bring to your home are worth it too!