Australians waste over $9 billion worth of food every year

Monday, 30 October, 2017

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A new report from RaboDirect finds that Australians waste an average of 14% of their weekly grocery buy, equating to over $1050 per household per year — or a collective $9.6 billion.

The RaboDirect 2017 Food & Farming Report, published as part of the company’s annual Financial Health Barometer, aims to shine a light on the issue of food waste in Australia and to help educate consumers on reducing waste, while saving money in the process.

According to the report, some of the habits contributing to food waste in Australia are as follows:

  • 43% buy too much food.
  • 82% of people who waste food indicate that food goes off before they can finish it.
  • 28% never eat food past its ‘best before’ date.
  • 10% won’t use leftovers.

It’s a serious problem in some households, with the report including a revealing breakdown of the percentage of people in each state who waste more than 20% of their grocery shop:

  • Victoria (19%)
  • NSW (16%)
  • South Australia (13%)
  • West Australia (13%)
  • Northern Territory (12%)
  • Tasmania (4%)

The report also found that while nine in 10 Australian households waste food every week, 53% consider themselves ethically conscious consumers and 77% care about changing their waste habits. Generationally, baby boomers (7%) remain least wasteful, with millennials (20%) demonstrating more wasteful actions than Gen Z (18%) or Gen X (11%).

The good news is that the report shows a growing support for Australian farmers and local produce, revealing:

  • 80% of Australians believe in the importance of farmers for the wellbeing of the nation.
  • 66% prefer to buy local produce and support local growers and are happy to pay more for it.
  • 48% are concerned that fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets due to imperfections.

The report highlights that knowledge is a key driver in reducing food waste, with 15% of those indicating they know hardly anything about food and farming production wasting more than 20% compared to 11% of those who know a little bit. This explains the difference in waste habits across the generations, with only 23% of Gen X and 29% of millennials believing they know quite a bit about farming and food production — compared with 39% of baby boomers.

“Food sustainably is not only an issue for farmers; it impacts us all,” said Bede Cronin, head of RaboDirect. “The Food & Farming Report sheds light on the importance of food and farming to Australia’s future and the role that we all play in ensuring the security of our food production for generations to come.”

The report concludes by highlighting some top tips to reduce waste and support Australian farmers, which are as follows:

  • Purchase ‘imperfect’ fruits and vegetables at the grocery store and place them directly in the trolley rather than using multiple plastic bags. You’ll save money and the environment.
  • Make one night a week ‘leftovers night’ and get creative with your food waste. Deposit your savings in a high-interest savings account.
  • Shop at your local farmers market and read the labels on food for Australian and local products, thus ensuring your hard-earned money goes towards supporting Australia’s farmers and food sustainability.

“The results of the RaboDirect Food & Farming Report demonstrate that food waste is still an issue in Australia,” said Cronin. “Positively, it also shows that Australians can make a few small changes to everyday habits, such as using leftovers for lunches through the week and making sure you plan your meals before going shopping, which will help to reduce food waste and also save you a few dollars.”

The full report can be found at, along with information on RaboDirect’s other initiatives to reduce food waste.

Image credit: © Daisy

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