Do you know what’s in your pantry?
According to Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, only about 41% of inventory estimations are accurate when it comes to our pantries. These “biased inventory estimates” can increase overstocking and spoilage or result in “unmet demand,” depending on our individual consumer tendencies. Instead of over- or under-stocking, try creating a master grocery list to better take inventory in your pantry.
What is a master grocery list?
A master grocery list is a grocery list with items that you always need, the essentials of your home. This grocery list also contains accurate numbers of each item, creating a tangible, easy-to-read inventory list. From household to household, the master grocery list could differ extremely, depending on tastes and lifestyles. Regardless, everyone should have a master grocery list that allows them to accurately take inventory in their homes.
How do I make a master grocery list?
Making a master grocery list can be time consuming initially. Take a Sunday afternoon to make an inventory of your entire pantry (you’ll be shocked at how much stuff is actually in there!). Then, compile this data in either a written sheet that can be tacked onto your pantry door or put the data into a spreadsheet that can be printed and updated on the computer. After compiling all of your initial data, make sure to update your master grocery list every time you make a purchase, use an item, or clean out your pantry.
What are some other ways I can avoid food waste and check inventory?
Dr. Brian Wansink, lead author and Director of the Food and Brand Lab, has some suggestions that could prevent consumers from wasting food. He says consumers can do the following to make sure products are either visible or used:
- Rotate products from the back of the shelf to the front during cleaning.
- Plan new uses for abandoned products.
- Dispose of expired products.
- Donate non–expired, abandoned products to the local food bank instead of throwing the product away.
After taking these factors into account, cleaning out your pantry, creating a master grocery list, and accurately taking inventory, you’ll eliminate under and over stocking and hopefully never waste food again!