Australian consumers waste an average of 13% of their weekly grocery spend, according to new research from Rabobank.
The 2019 Food Waste Report reveals that Australians spent a total of AUD 10.1 billion ($6.84 billion) in 2019 on food that ended up in bins, up 13% on last year.
Rabobank said that with food waste on the rise across all states and all generations, Australia as a nation is “losing the battle against food waste”.
Glenn Wealands, head of client experience, Rabobank Australia, said: “Food waste is one of the most significant challenges facing our nation and planet today. According to the Food Sustainability Index, developed by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, Australia is the fourth highest food waster in the world.
“Given the increasing pressure on the planet to provide for a growing population, there is an urgent need for greater action across governments, industry, retailers, and consumers to drive real change.”
The biggest offenders when it comes to food waste in Australia are consumers. Household waste makes up 34% of food waste nationally, with 31% from primary production and 25% from manufacturing.
According to Rabobank, less than a third of Australians connect the impact of their waste with climate change, water shortages and animals becoming extinct.
Consistent with previous years, the top reasons for household waste include food not being prepared properly, not knowing what to do with leftovers, buying too much and changing plans.
Consumers are also finding new ways to waste food with the rapid uptake of food delivery services linked to increasing food waste habits.
“When we waste food, the ramifications go far beyond just dollars, impacting our planet and precious resources,” said Wealands. “We know from this research that more than three-quarters of us care about reducing food waste and are annoyed by it. However, it is alarming that less than three out of ten of us recognise the impact our food waste has on the environment.”
Wealands added: “We can definitely learn from best practice in other countries, for example, governments in Italy and France banned supermarket food waste in 2016, legislating that unsold goods must be given to food banks or charities. Ultimately, there must be a highlighted sense of urgency now, given we’re wasting more than ever before.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019