American Families Toss Almost $750 in Groceries Each Year
Madison, Wis. (April 2, 2004) - A recent online survey conducted by Sub-Zero Freezer Company, the premier manufacturer of residential refrigeration and wine storage, found that Americans are forced to discard $14 of food each week due to improper storage -- a number that adds up to $728 over the course of a year.
Ensure leftovers last longer with proper storage and refrigeration
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Statistical Abstract, the average family spends $103 on groceries each week, which means that nearly 14 percent of that bill never makes it to the dinner table due to improper storage techniques. This results in dumping the equivalent of more than 21 million shopping bags full of food into landfills each year.*
"Without properly storing fresh food and leftovers, it is no surprise that families incur so much waste," said Jim Bakke, president and CEO for Sub-Zero Freezer Company and Wolf Appliance Company. "Our company has worked in refrigeration for more than 50 years, and through the announcement of our survey findings we hope to raise awareness for proper food storage."
Keeping Fresh Food Fresh, Frozen Food Frozen
Too frequently, fresh food expires before consumed. According to the Sub-Zero survey, a mere six percent of Americans are able to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for as long as two weeks in their refrigerators. Americans tend to overbuy quantities of food and then forget about them in the refrigerator- causing people to throw away about one third of all fruits and vegetables they buy.**
"Sub-Zero pioneered residential refrigeration and developed a proprietary dual
refrigeration system to keep fresh food fresh longer, and frozen food frozen longer," said Bakke. "Over half of our survey participants are forced to throw out fresh fruits and vegetables in less than a week. With proper storage, you can keep that same produce fresh for at least two weeks, and even beyond."
Sub-Zero's dual refrigeration system includes two quiet, long-lasting compressors, or two dedicated systems-one to keep fresh foods fresher in high humidity, and one to preserve frozen foods longer in a dry environment. The two dedicated systems ensure that no air, moisture or food aroma circulates between them, eliminating the possibility of incurring frost in the freezer. To meet the highest standards in humidity levels to keep foods freshest, Sub-Zero refrigerators are also built with a wet refrigeration coil.
With a dual refrigeration system, the equipment does not have to work as hard to maintain a constant temperature. Within seconds of removing an item from the refrigerator, Sub-Zero's compressor works to restore the ideal refrigerator temperature within one degree of its digital setting without taxing the freezer-side.
What to do with Lingering Leftovers
More people are eating home-cooked meals at home today-83 percent do so at least three times per week, according to the Food Marketing Institute. This means increased leftovers and an increased chance of food born illness. More than three-fourths of Americans surveyed by Sub-Zero eat leftovers at least once a week, and 17 percent keep food for four or more days, also increasing the risk of illness. "Prepared food should not be kept more than four days before it is consumed," said Sub-Zero and Wolf executive chef Eric Rupert. "The sooner you eat leftovers, the better the quality in terms of taste, nutrition and safety. You can also increase the life of leftovers by storing different foods from the same meal separately, especially meat."
Tips for Proper Food Storage
Monitor temperatures of refrigeration zones; set refrigerators at 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and freezers at zero degrees Fahrenheit-bacteria grow most rapidly between 40 - 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Keep hot food hot and cold food cold¾refrigerate leftovers within two hours and as soon
as possible after serving
Wrap refrigerator-stored food in foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags or airtight containers to keep it from drying out
Wrap freezer-stored food in freezer-quality wrap, plastic bags or containers
Always label stored food with contents and date
Do not refreeze food that has been thawed unless it is cooked first
Use specially designed compartments for dairy foods, deli foods and fresh produce; these compartments maintain temperature and humidity levels that keep specific food groups fresh
Fresh vegetables should be washed, dried and stored in air-tight containers before refrigeration
Fresh fruits should be washed and dried; aromatic fruits such as strawberries and peaches should be stored in plastic bags before refrigeration
*From The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
**From the University of Arizona garbage study in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture