Food waste lesson plan

Food waste lesson plan aims at raising awareness about food waste and engaging students in a discussion.It combines listening and speaking, and may be used to supplement topics about food, nutrition, and social problems. It is suitable for both groups and individual students


This lesson is based on a campaign Intermarche, a French chain of supermarkets, organized in 2014 to cut down on food waste. The campaign was called Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables and used a number of techniques to promote and implement their idea. All images and the video used to teach this class are promotional materials produced for the needs of this campaign.

In order to teach this class, you need to get familiar with this emaze presentation first, as it is going to guide you each step of the way.

I recommend watching the video and going through this website:

  1. Love Food, Hate Waste – an initiative that teaches about food waste and ways to combat it, partially through publishing recipes that enable people to use leftovers and information on how to properly store food

The Task

Step 1 (slides 1-8)

Don’t reveal the topic of the class (the presentation is called F.W. so that students are kept in the dark when they see the URL). Start by showing your students cropped pictures of fruit and vegetables, asking them to guess what they are.

Step 2 (slides 9-12)

Show complete pictures of the carrot and eggplant. Ugly and disfigured are adjectives used by the campaign authors where each piece of fruit or veg comes with its unique, negative adjective. You might use this moment to elicit from your students more adjectives like this.

Step 3 (slides 13-14)

Let your students see 4 posters and explain they are a part of a social campaign organised in France in 2014 by Intermarche.

Step 4 (slides 15-16) Listening

Tell your students they are about to watch a video explaining the idea of Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables. Go through the vocabulary spot first, adding any words you think your students might find difficult to understand. There are 4 questions for your students to answer while they watch. You will probably need to watch the video twice. Check answers with the class.

Step 5 (slide 17) Speaking 

Go through Talking Points with your students. You might choose to discuss them with the whole class or let pairs / smaller groups discuss their answers first. Find out your students’ stance on the topic of food waste and see whether they find it relevant. Try to elicit some ideas on how to prevent food waste ( question 4).

Step 6 (slides 18-19) Discussion / Debate

Once your students expressed their general opinion about the issue of food waste, move on to the Idea Bank. Depending on how much time you have left / your preferences, you might choose to discuss only one idea with your students.

Love Food, Hate Waste

You could hold a whole separate lesson using only this incredible website. Just this great infographic makes for an eye-opening class discussion. I decided to focus on the recipe  and storage > fresher longer sections the website offers, which is a follow-up to Talking Points, question 4.

Ask your students:

  1. Do you ever look for ways to utilize leftovers/products which are nearing their expiration date? How?
  2. Have you ever taken a risk of preparing a seemingly crazy dish, using only what you had in your fridge? Why? How did it turn out?
  3. Do you know any tricks/tips on how to make your food stay fresh longer? Share and compare with your partners.
  4. Have you ever looked for advice on how to prevent food waste? If so, where and how?
  5. Do you think the Intenet is a trustworthy source of information regarding this topic? Or would you rather trust your family members’ / friends’ advice?
  6. Do you witness a lot of food was around you (school, workplace, home)?
  7. Do you do anything to raise the awareness about the issue of food waste? If so, what is it?

If you are looking for more engaging lesson plans to make your students talk, check out my lesson plan about Lifetramp and Room 101.

Personal Experience

I have been meaning to incorporate Inglorious Fruits and Veg. into one of my lessons for a long time now. I find the idea and visuals so compelling I had little doubt my students would remain indifferent. I was right, it was an instant discussion generator and made a potentially dull (or worse, too preachy) topic of food waste (which I personally find to be a major issue) something my students wanted to know more about ( the infographic from Love Food, Hate Waste is a great source of extra info for those interested).

It was really enjoyable to deal with the Idea Bank with my students, although I have to admit, teenagers showed almost zero interest in Idea #2. On the other hand, my adult students, who are well aware of what running a household and planning domestic budgets means, were truly interested in the concept of a leftovers cookbook, and we spent a significant amount of time discussing different ways of preserving food/ reducing food waste.


  1. As usual I really loved your lesson and my students enjoyed it very much. I only have a query: when you talk about Idea#2, what exactly do you mean?
    Thank you

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