Aussies binned $10.1 billion of food in 2019, finds latest Rabobank research

According to Rabobank’s recently released Food Waste Report, the average Australian household wastes 13% of its weekly grocery shop, that’s $1,026 worth of hard earned money down the drain every year.

Now if you’re reading this feeling guilty about throwing out an overripe banana or some mouldy cheese, you’re probably not alone. Rabobank’s report found that the amount of food being wasted has actually increased in Australia, from $8.9 billion worth in 2018 to $10.1 billion in 2019.

How does Australia compare to the rest of the world?

When it comes to food waste, Australia certainly is the little country that could - could waste more food that is. Despite only having the 55th largest population in the world, Australia currently holds the title as the fourth highest food waster in the world.

The report revealed the average person in Australia throws out a whopping 298kg of food each year. 

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How much money are Aussies wasting on uneaten food?

When it comes to food waste in Australia, there seems to be a generational divide at play. While generally considered more socially conscious and aware Gen Z came out as possibly the worst offenders when it comes to flushing money down the toilet on uneaten food, closely followed by Gen Y.

The report found that Gen Z (people generally aged under 24), throw away a shocking $1,446 every year, a number which has increased by $234 since 2018. And Gen Y (people aged between 25 to 39) weren’t far behind, binning $1,394 of food in 2019. 

In contrast, Baby Boomers actually came out as the least wasteful, putting $498 worth of food in the bin on average, in 2019. 

What impact does food waste have on the planet?

Of course food waste isn’t just bad for our bank accounts, it’s also bad for the planet. Rabobank found that, even though most of us don’t like wasting food, a large number of us also aren’t aware that food waste has a negative impact on the planet.

Only 28% of those surveyed connected food waste with climate change, 27% linked throwing food out with water shortages and an even smaller 22% recognised that wasting the earth’s resources could have some impact on animal extinction.

Head of Client Experience at Rabobank, Glenn Wealands explained, “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 10 of us recognise the impact our food waste has on the environment.”

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How can you avoid food waste and save money?

As Wealands suggested, understanding why food waste happens is key to knowing how to combat it. Similar to previous Food Waste reports conducted by Rabobank, not preparing food properly, having no plan for leftovers, buying more than is needed and changing plans suddenly, were the biggest causes of food wastage.

Here are some tips on how to reduce your spending and your food waste:

  • Planning is key! If you often find yourself with too much food after your weekly grocery shop, plan ahead! It’s always good to have a recipe in mind when you go grocery shopping, then you know exactly how much you need to buy of each ingredient.
  • Don’t be precious! Don’t feel the need to stick to a recipe, religiously. If you have a little too much of one ingredient, say a few too many mushrooms or carrots, just bung them in to your dish as well. It’s easy to think that you’ll just come up with another dish to use them up, but chances are they’ll just end up hanging around in the fridge until they’re no good to eat.
  • Make cooking enjoyable again. According to Rabobank’s report 21.4% of food waste happens because people fail to prepare food properly. So just enjoy being in the kitchen again, put some music on, make it a proper event that you set aside time for. 
  • Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Have a plan for your leftovers, this could simply be having them for lunch the next day or adding them to another meal.
  • Eat what you have. Rabobank’s report revealed that the rise of online delivery services has contributed a lot to food wastage, largely because ordering food online is usually a last minute, spontaneous decision, meaning that pre-planned food already in the fridge ends up going to waste. It might even be best to set yourself certain days of the week when you’re allowed to have a treat and order food online, perhaps a Thursday or a Friday. That way you can still enjoy something different, but not waste food that you already have.
  • Find a shared compost near you! If you still find yourself with a bit of food waste, one way to make sure it doesn’t end up in a landfill emitting methane gases, is to find a shared compost. You can use the website ShareWaste to find a compost near you.

Less food in landfill, more money in the bank

Once you employ these simple techniques you’ll be surprised how much money you can save on food. And if you have more money in the bank, then you might even want to think about starting a savings account, which could even be a great way to see how much money you save over a certain period of time.

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