Reducing waste in the kitchen is not only helpful for saving time & money, but will also keep food from going to waste and landfill. Rather than strictly following recipes, improvising with pantry staples you already have on hand is a great way to reduce waste and maintain a zero waste kitchen. If you follow different recipes each time you cook, your kitchen may eventually become overrun with excess food you bought specifically for those dishes but didn’t use entirely, as well as other ingredients that have been purchased but not suited to any of your chosen recipes.

Mastering some basic recipes that are easily adjustable to what’s on hand will help to avoid waste. With readily available pantry staples, you may soon realise you don’t need to buy as much food as you had thought. Read on for the pantry staples we think of as non-negotiables for a zero waste kitchen, allowing you to make delicious food all the time while cutting back your food waste.

Cooking Oils, Sauces & Condiments

Start with stocking up your cooking oils, like Olive Oil & Coconut Oil (both available on tap in all GoodFor stores), and your choice of salt (our faves are Sea Salt and Himalayan Salt) and either Black Peppercorns (if you have an appropriate pepper shaker to grind down the corns) or Cracked Pepper. These are must-haves for any home cooking or baking!

A selection of sauces and condiments is also essential, including tamari, tahini, tomato paste, vinegar, and our personal favourite… Peanut butter! We have a number of unique Peanut Butter flavours available to purchase online, while most of the former liquids are available on tap in store. BYO jars from home to refill ongoing, or if you’re starting your zero waste kitchen from scratch you can grab one of our reusable jars or bottles.


A well-stocked spice cabinet is a must for every kitchen! Our staples include Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Chilli Flakes, Chilli Powder, Coriander, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Mustard Seeds, Oregano, Smoked Paprika and Turmeric. While these are our go-tos, we have an even larger range of Herbs & Spices that might tickle your fancy.

Nuts & Seeds

Snacking, roasting, salad toppers, blended into home sauces… The options with nuts & seeds in the kitchen is many and varied. Cashews are super versatile in both cooking and baking, as are Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds. If you like a superfood supplement in your day, Chia Seeds, Basil Seeds and Hemp Seeds are super nutritious and go well in smoothies or sprinkled on top of breakfast bowls, or if you’re feeling a little fancy at dinnertime, you can’t say no to Pinenuts!

Rice, Grains & Pasta

The ideal base to any meal, providing fibre and keeping the family full without compromising on health. Keeping your favourite type of rice on hand will allow you to whip up a risotto, Buddha Bowl, Mexican dish or sushi in no time. The options with rice really are endless and you can find every type of rice under the sun here!

Not a rice fan? There are many other grains that are equally delicious and satiating, from Quinoa and Couscous, to Amaranth and Buckwheat, and many more.

If you’re a pasta-lover like us or just enjoy a quick whip-together dinner (especially if you have kids), keeping dry pasta on hand is a great pantry staple. See our all-inclusive range here for the whole fam, including gluten-free options.

Farmer’s Market Extras

Produce, dairy products, eggs, fish and meat can often be purchased in their freshest state from a local Farmer’s Market. Start with the basics like brown and red onions, garlic, ginger, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes… And build your kitchen staples from there. Other Farmer’s Market buys might include seasonal fruit, free range eggs, milk & cheese, seafood, grass-fed meat, cured meats, and whatever else is fresh, seasonal and tickles your fancy on the day. It’s important to keep in mind when shopping at the Market to not over-stock these items, as of course these are the perishables that will go to waste if you don’t get the chance to use them in your cooking.

Shop all GoodFor pantry staples online here with environmentally-friendly, nationwide delivery! We have an even bigger range available in each of our stores across New Zealand, particularly our refillery stations which house all the liquids your home could ever need – eco-friendly cleaning products, cooking oils, liquid sweeteners, Kombucha and more.