Fridge hospice, food waste, madspild, food hospice, using leftovers, leftovers, tomatoes, cranberry cranberries

Food hospice

Yes, it is a slightly weird question and no, I’m not suggesting you stuff your elderly family members into the fridge and create a food hospice that way. Instead what I want to talk about is the state of fridges across the nation and across the world.

We all lead busy lives and our constant and persistent lack of time often has an impact on our food. To start off, we go to the supermarket hungry and with no clear plan of what to buy. The hunger then kicks in and we fill the trolley with the things we’re craving and clutch on to the ‘fab’ 2-for-1 deals.

We get home and stuff everything in the fridge and kind of just forget about it, creating the food hospice. Although various meals are cooked, it is soon impossible to know what is hiding in the depths of the fridge. The leftovers from meals are also safely put away in Tupperware, to then end at the back of the fridge. Is this sounding familiar?

Mejdahl et. al. (2011) coined the term “food hospice” because that really is what our fridges, sometimes, become. It’s a storage system that prolongs the death of our produce. The funny thing is that we often feel good for saving leftovers for a few days before throwing it away, because then it doesn’t seem as wasted. Ever had that? Yeah, me too.

The food goes off in the fridge and becomes inedible, and we can blame the fridge a little bit for not extending its life even further. However, it is probably easier to not waste the space in the fridge and throw the food out straight away. It’s a bit like when you walk into something and then blame the thing for being in the way, rather than realising it was probably your own fault.

I’m not saying that everyone does this, but it’s important to highlight that it happens. It definitely happens to me, and I’m willing to bet it’s happened to you. I currently have a curry I made, that was far too spicy, in the freezer, stored in a container that’s too big. I know that I’ll probably end up throwing it away, but for now I’m quite happy that I can pretend I’m going to use it sometime soon (I will!). Any ideas for what to do with it are very welcome!

A food hospice does not sound like a fun place. Your fridge should be a celebration of fantastic produce, not a place for them to die. If you use your leftovers and all your food, you’ll probably also save a few pounds, so it’s a win-win situation!

Top tips avoiding a food hospice:

  1. Make a list of everything you bought
  2. Make a meal plan
  3. Be active in using leftovers for lunches or as a different meal
    • As an example leftover meat could be put in a carrot bun and made into a sandwich.
  4. Leave leftovers at the front of the fridge so you see them every time you open the door
  5. Organise your fridge once or twice a week so you know what you have left




Mejdahl, J., Beck, C. og Frese, S. D. (2011) Forbrugere: Vi smider ikke mad ud!, FDB: Vallensbæk. 45 sider.

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