Starting students learn waste-free cooking during introduction days

August 18, 2023

Students taking part in the General Introduction Days (AID) can attend a workshop on waste-free cooking on Monday 21 August. The workshop is offered three times, and offers useful tips & tricks to cook delicious waste-free meals. That way, you not only save money but also make an important contribution to a sustainable food system.

The workshop is a collaboration between the AID, WUR, and the Samen tegen Voedselverspilling (United Against Food Waste) Foundation. Sanne Stroosnijder, Programme Manager of Food Loss and Waste Management at WUR, designed the workshop: “The goal is to inspire students to buy, cook, and store food waste-free.” They learn how to get the most out of their fridge and are offered tips on how to shop sustainably. Anton Rinsema, chef at Unilever, facilitates the culinary part of the workshop and gives the students a taste of how to turn leftovers into delicious dishes in a simple way. “After this workshop, you will really look at food differently.”

The Samen tegen Voedselverspilling Foundation brings together several stakeholders, including Wageningen University & Research, Unilever, and the Dutch Nutrition Centre, who are joining forces to reduce food waste by half by 2030. Want to know more? See the website of Samen tegen Voedselverspilling.

And it pays off, as apparent from a waste sorting analysis conducted by the Dutch Nutrition Centre. This survey is conducted every three years and measures household food waste. The latest analysis shows that we are wasting more than 33 kilos of food per person per year, amounting to €138 a year. Zoom out to the whole of the Netherlands, and you've got the equivalent of a traffic jam between Utrecht and Barcelona of trucks full of food. “It's a terrible shame,” Rinsema stresses. “Before it gets to your plate, food has grown on the land, it has had to be watered, and it has travelled a long way.”

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that we need to change how we treat the food that is available to us. The AID is an excellent time to start working on this. Cas Huisman, PhD candidate at the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour chair group, investigates how students handle food and how waste can be effectively prevented. Huisman: “Because students share many facilities, they may find it hard at times to avoid wasting food. On the other hand, as a first-year student, you haven't formed habits yet.” Lolkje de Vries, spokesperson for the Dutch Nutrition Centre, agrees: “You're starting a new phase in your life. It's a perfect time to acquire new habits.”