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Call to beef up your family recipe repertoire and love your leftovers as scale of household meat waste in Scotland revealed

Zero Waste Scotland today reveals the shocking statistics around meat needlessly thrown out by families in Scotland.

21 Mar 16

Figures show that Scottish households waste 2,900 tonnes of beef, the equivalent of 26 million burgers, each year. And when food waste from Scottish homes is ranked in order of the value of the food thrown away, meat and fish are at the top of that list. An astonishing £190 million worth is being thrown away each year. Beef, lamb, pork and poultry waste alone comes to a mighty 22,000 tonnes, worth £140 million.

Reducing avoidable food waste could save every household in Scotland up to £460 a year.  Zero Waste Scotland’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign provides tips and practical help so that people can stop wasting so much good food.

To give families fresh ideas to help them love their leftovers and make the most of their meat, thereby saving money and helping the environment, Love Food Hate Waste has joined forces with Ayrshire butchers We hae meat, quality assured Scottish beef farmers.

Carlyn and Alex Paton, of Cairnhill Farm, Ayrshire, who founded and own the successful brand, have teamed up with Love Food Hate Waste to exclusively reveal their favourite family recipes that can help us love our leftovers and make the most of our meat.

The mouth-watering recipes include: an easy spiced beef casserole, sausage and cheesy mash croquettes and nutty pork meatballs and can be found on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Carlyn said:

“Beef is a very versatile meat – there are lots of different cuts and joints to choose from, which is why it remains very popular. There are also lots of way to make it go further through using up leftovers, utilising unused portions in a wide range of recipes or freezing it for future use, so there’s no real excuse for wasting it if you have some that hasn’t been used up.

“By speaking to your local butcher, on the high street or in a supermarket, you can make sure you buy the best type and quantity of beef to suit your needs, get advice about preparation and storage, and ensure you get the best value for money. We think the Love Food Hate Waste campaign is a great idea and we’re right behind it.”   

Zero Waste Scotland research shows a lot of waste could be avoided by taking small steps at home, like planning meals in advance, storing food better, understanding date labels, serving the right portions and cooking with leftovers.

Scottish households throw away over £5 million of food each year because it was not used in time.  Confusion over dates labels, caution over meat safety and worries over freezing and reheating can lead to good meat being thrown away whilst it is still fine to eat.

Love Food Hate Waste provides essential tips – for example, you can freeze food right up until the use by date.

Ylva Haglund, food waste campaign manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Our research has shown that despite our love of beef in Scotland, we still throw away millions of pounds worth every year, with an equivalent weight to 26 million burgers, or the weight of 13 million steaks, in Scotland†.

 “That’s why Love Food Hate Waste is delighted to team up with Carlyn and Alex of We hae meat and reveal some of their favourite recipes to get the absolute most out of good quality Scottish meat bought for family meals.”

Tacking food waste continues to be a priority for the Scottish Government. Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Richard Lochhead, this month announced a stretching new target to reduce food waste by 33 per cent by 2025, which would put Scotland on track to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2050.

Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said initiatives which encourage people to make the most of quality meat and reduce food waste make total sense.

“QMS has been promoting the use of leftover beef, lamb and pork for more than a decade and the 300 members of our Scotch Butchers Club all use our leftover campaign information and recipes to encourage their customers to make the most of meat.  It’s great to see companies around the country, like We hae meat, throwing their weight behind the Zero Waste Scotland campaign and this important message.

“Our industry also has a great environmental message with 85% of Scottish agricultural land unsuited to growing vegetables or cereals but ideal for quality beef and lamb production. Animal welfare is also a priority and the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork brands are underpinned by the longest established quality assurance schemes in the world.”

Ylva added:

“If you, like many people, have leftovers after your Sunday roast, the Love Food Hate Waste website has lots of handy hints and top tips about how to make the best of your beef and other meats. We’d encourage anyone that would like to save money and reduce waste to give some of them a try.”

Claire Munro, PR Manager
t: 01786 239791
m: 07702976594




Notes For Editors

Top tips for getting the best from beef from Love Food Hate Waste

  • Left-over roast beef doesn’t have to be used just in a sandwich – it works brilliantly in a cottage pie, a soup or shredded and added to a stir-fry.
  • Not enough beef to go around? Add some chick peas, kidney beans, or a potato etc. to Mexican and curry meals to make dinner more filling and save money on meat.
  • Remember to check date labels so you know when your beef needs to be used by.
  • Going shopping for beef? Plan ahead by using Love Food Hate Waste’s handy portion planner to get the perfect amount.
  • If you’ve found a great special offer or just don't want to use all of your beef at once, freeze some for another day and use as needed.
  • Small portions freeze best and can be added from frozen to your dish.  The most important thing is to ensure that when you are reheating the beef that it is piping hot all the way through before serving.
  • Check out Love Food Hate Waste’s recipe finder for ways to use smaller portions and cheaper cuts to make delicious meals.

And there are lots of other ways to make the most of all of your meat:

  • Before roasting a chicken, cut the wings off. Wrap them tight and freeze them. After 3 or 4 roasts you'll have enough wings to cook for another meal.
  • Freeze leftover sausage to make tasty sausage rolls.
  • If you buy a big pack of bacon, rashers can be frozen easily by putting greaseproof paper between them.  Then you can cook from frozen whenever you are treating yourself to a weekend fry up.
  • Marinades are a quick and easy way to pep up meat which is almost at its use-by-date or has been in the freezer for a while and has got a little tired or dry. Just put the chicken fillets, beef steaks or chops in the marinade for about 30 minutes in the fridge, turning once.
  • For chicken marinade, use soy sauce, honey and mustard.  For beef try chilli flakes, ginger and coriander and for lamb use garlic, rosemary and lemon juice.
  • Leftover Sunday roasts can be made into tasty money-saving dishes like lamb rogan josh, Moroccan chicken stew or  roast sausages
  • Eat from the freezer one night a week. 
  • Take a ‘shelfie’ to avoid doubling up. Taking a picture of your fridge before you go shopping means you won’t be doubling up on items you already have.


*Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012

†Figures based on quarter pounder burgers (4oz) and half pound steaks (8oz).

Statistics are taken from a Love Food Hate Waste study that explores the nation’s attitude to beef and beef waste, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of WRAP.

  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Circular Economy strategy and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities. We are helping Scotland to become more efficient in its use of resources. We are supporting progress towards Scotland’s ambitious zero waste targets and enabling Scottish society to reap the benefits of more efficient use of resources.


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