While we state it seems unthinkable to throw away nearly a third of the food we produce, we still continue to overlook that we are all very much part of this problem because we all consume meals. The amount of food wasted clearly has an impact on our view of what we think a sustainable meal is and our research suggests food waste is a universal function that can help us determine the sustainability of diets. Achieving sustainability in food systems depends on the utilisation of both culinary skills and knowledge of how foods make meals. These are overlooked by the current food waste debate that is concerned with communicating the problem with food waste rather than solutions to it. We aim to change this oversight with the research presented here that demonstrates the need to consider the role of food preservation to reduce food waste and the requirement for new marketing terms associated with sustainability actions that can be used to stimulate changes in consumption behaviours. We have chosen frozen food to demonstrate this because our research has shown that the use of frozen foods results in 47 % less household food waste than fresh food categories. This has created a step-change in how we view food consumption and has stimulated consumer movements that act across different products and supply chains to enable the consumption of the sustainable meal.