The facts on throwing away food and what it costs Australian households each year.
How much money could you save by becoming food waste conscious?
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Research into food wastage in Australia exists in copious quantities. Just about every state based Government has commissioned some form of research that comes to the same conclusion; we waste far too much food and in turn throw away food & money down the drain.
It’s one of those topics that keep people rather passionate. For some it’s the idea of wasting money that gets them upset, others it’s about the fact that food is such a valuable resource worldwide and yet we take it for granted in so many western countries.
For me it’s a hybrid of the above. I don’t want to waste food as it shows ignorance towards just how lucky we are at having regular food arrive on our plate. I use the financial side of the equation to drive my attitude towards making sure I never waste food and am at least aware of just how much it is costing me to waste food.
Statistics on food wastage
While the food wastage statistics may change slightly with each year that passes, on average the below facts and figures on throwing away food remain the same.
Take the time to read the stats, understand them and apply the learning’s to your own household. It will help you reduce food wastage, save money and become a more ‘aware’ consumer that doesn’t take the privilege of easy to access food for granted.
The facts and figures above and below are based on ‘The Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study’ performed by the NSW Governement and has extended commentary by Savings Guide (us, the leading authority on saving money in Australia).
The average Australian household wastes $1,036 of food per year
This is around 20% of all food purchased by each household. So essentially, imagine this; every time you have five bags of groceries – grab one and immediately put it in the bin. That is what we do on average in Australia when it comes to wasting food.
Top reasons for food wastage
Based on the above research and Savings Guide polling data, the top reasons for food wastage in Australia are:
- We buy too much food.
- We over cook quantities and need to relearn portion requirements.
- We are terrible at storing food correctly.
- We don’t understand how to use left overs.
What kind of foods do we often waste in Australia?
- Fresh produce (33%)
- Leftovers (27%)
- Products that are packaged (15%)
- Drinks (9%)
- Frozen food items (9%)
- Takeaway food (7%)
As you can see, there is a large amount of fresh produce that is wasted simply because (I believe) that people over buy or under prepare for the meals they are going to eat. If we were more aware of the food we had in the fridge, it’s used by date and ability to be integrated into our meals – we wouldn’t waste as much.
Who wastes the most food?
It is said that younger consumers (between 18 years of age and 24 years of age) are the most prolific in buying food and then not using it. Makes sense, I spent a good 10 years from the age of 18 buying food only to eat at the pub most nights.
This is quickly followed by households on $100K of income or more per year. It appears that as more money is made, the less caring a household is about the cost and waste of food. Families with kids are also closely followed, largely due to been time poor and not having strict schedules in turn resulting in food waste.
Why is wasting food such a worry?
- Rotten food creates methane gas, a leading contributor to global warming when in landfill.
- The cost of food is expensive – you are wasting money when you should be trying to save money!
- There is a cost of fuel, resources, employees and more behind each piece of food that comes to you. You are wasting the hard work of these resources if wasting food.
- A huge amount of food is rejected BEFORE going on the shelf at supermarkets. This is because consumers have high expectations of what a product should look like unnecessarily.
Quick extra facts on food wastage:
- $8 billion dollars worth of food is thrown out each year by Australians.
- That is 4 tonnes of food.
- That is around 500KG per Australian household wasted.
- $1036 is the cost to your pocket per year for wasting food
What you need to do to start saving money
Stop food wastage. Save money.
- Start meal planning better.
- Look to reduce your grocery bill and opt instead to become more accountable for the fresh food you buy.
- Always store left overs and use them the next day for lunch or similar.
- Learn what vegetables go off quickly – use them first.
- Study the used by dates of items you put into your fridge.