A FOOD waste charity and celebrity chef are joining forces to help families avoid food waste this Christmas.

The campaign has been launched by Zero Waste Scotland and Gary Maclean – winner of hit television show MasterChef: The Professionals – as the festive season arrives.

It is estimated that, in December alone, a staggering 60 million meals will go uneaten in Scotland, including 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings and over 100,000 turkeys.

If saved from going to waste, this could feed the entire population of Scotland from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and represent a collective saving of more than £90million to Scottish households.

In his first official engagement since being appointed Scotland’s National Chef, Gary joined Zero Waste Scotland to share his festive checklist – designed to help minimise food waste and time spent in the kitchen.

His tips include cooking turkey upside down to prevent it from drying out, serving Christmas lunch ‘buffet-style’ to enable guests to choose their preferred portion size and using up leftovers in tasty, easy-to-make party recipes such as turkey spring rolls.

Dad-of-five Gary said: “For me, Christmas Day isn’t about slaving away in the kitchen, it’s about spending time with family and the kids playing with Lego on the living room floor.

“Planning ahead, not overcooking the turkey, getting portion sizes right and using a serving-style that makes the post-dinner tidy up incredibly easy are all on my festive food waste checklist.

“I encourage people to give the checklist a go to save time and money – and, ultimately, get the most out of their Christmas Day.”

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, added: “It will no doubt provide people with food for thought that some 60 million meals are wasted in December every year.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has set a target to cut food waste by 33 per cent by 2025.”

For more, visit https:Scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com.