Food waste in Australia and tips to improve

When it comes to food in Australia, we are a very wasteful country. According to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, food waste costs the economy $20 billion each year with 7.3 million tonnes of food, equal to 1 in 5 grocery bags per household wasted annually. On average 300kg per person. These figures are just phenomenal.

Where does the waste come from? According to Oz Harvest’s Australian Waste Facts the entire supply chain plays a role in food loss. From the farms, to the food industry, retail, and hospitality, right to our humble homes. Each category is accountable for 1/3 of food wastage.

Whilst in our everyday lives we may not be able to influence or impact what happens before the grocery bags hit our kitchen bench, we can each make a difference when it comes to food wastage in our own homes.

How do we end wasting so much food at home?

There are several potential reasons.

  • We forget what is in our fridge (things get lost underneath each other!)
  • We only needed ‘half’ of the vegetable or fruit for the recipe
  • We opt for takeout instead of eating the meal we had planned
  • We ‘feel’ like something else, so don’t make use all the ingredients we purchased
  • The freshness of the food didn’t last quite as long as you thought it would
  • We throw out excess food we’ve cooked, rather than thinking of ‘left over’ ways to use it

So how do we improve?

Here are a few tips to keep the 1 in 5 grocery bags per household per year, an estimated $3800 worth, out of landfill.

  • We need to shop better. Perhaps shop more frequently if we are regular culprits of last minute takeaway
  • Learn to use leftovers effectively. It doesn’t have to be the same meal for example turn left over spaghetti into a bolognese pie!
  • Expand our horizons. Make a new soup every week with left over vegetables
  • Invest in technology that can help preserve our fruits and vegetables such as Liebherr’s BioFresh refrigeration which keeps foods fresher for longer (when compared to a traditional refrigerator). With BioFresh, not only is the appearance and fresh flavour maintained but first and foremost, the valuable vitamins and minerals our bodies crave are preserved much longer. Considering vegetables and fruit are in the top 5 of most wasted foods in Australia, it would be hugely beneficial if we extend the shelf life.

Money in your pocket

The ability to store produce longer is not only a benefit to reducing landfill, it is also money in your pocket. Whilst the initial investment for a Liebherr BioFresh refrigerator might be more than anticipated, over the long term you will save money that you may have been literally ‘throwing in the bin’ when unconsumed food is tossed. Fresh food lasts significantly longer in a BioFresh drawer so you have more days to allow you to use it all. Therefore, you are not throwing food away, essentially throwing money down the drain. Plus, less frequent trips to the store means the reduced risk of purchasing unnecessary items we don’t really need.

What do you do in your household to reduce food wastage?