Shop to reduce food waste

Moldy bread, sour milk, and wilted veggies — these are all common outcomes of buying too much food.

Monthly Topic Overview
Reduce food waste at home and save money by following our easy, simple tips on how to shop to reduce food waste:

Before you head to the store…

  • Shop your kitchen. Inventory which food items you already have in the refrigerator and pantry to avoid buying duplicates.
  • Make a list. What meals or dishes do you plan to make this week? Identify which ingredients you will need and add them to the list.
    • Looking for list-making resources? Check out the many available grocery list phone apps, such as AnyList, Mealime, or OurGroceries. If you prefer a paper list, check out this shopping list template.
  • Eat a snack or meal. It is important to avoid grocery shopping when hungry as you are more susceptible to impulse purchases and over-buying.

Once at the store…

  • Think realistically about items on sale, such as “10 for $5”. It may seem like a tempting deal, but will you actually be able to consume ten? If not, you could end up with food waste, which results in money wasted.
  • Control quantity. To have better control of quantity when purchasing produce items, opt for unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetables. (Added climate benefit: you reduce packaging, too!)


  • Shop Your Kitchen:
  • Don’t Shop When Hungry:
    • Eat a snack or meal before grocery shopping. See if you notice a difference in your shopping habits.

Other Resources


Read more Love Food, Fight Waste topics, brought to you by Table to Table and the City of Iowa City.