Australia Markets closed

A new report says Aussies are wasting more food, and delivery apps could be to blame

Sharon Masige
  • Research from Rabobank has found Australians have spent $10.1 billion on food that ended up in the bin, an increase from $8.9 billion in 2018.
  • The main reasons for food wastage include not knowing what do to with leftovers and buying too much food.
  • Rabobank also found people who use food delivery services waste more food.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Aussies are wasting a lot of food.

Research from rural bank Rabobank's 2019 Food Waste Report found that Aussies spent $10.1 billion on food that ended up in the bin, an increase from $8.9 billion in 2018.

It found that Australians waste 13% of their weekly grocery shopping, which costs households an average of $1,026 a year.

The main reasons for wasting food include not knowing what to do with leftovers, food not being prepared properly, buying too much in the first place and changing plans. Interestingly, the report also highlighted that Australians who do more online grocery shopping and use food delivery services "are wasting more food".

"Consumers are also finding new ways to waste food with the rapid uptake of food delivery services linked to our increasing food waste habits," Rabobank said in a statement.

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,300 financial decision makers between 18 and 65 years old.

It found that one third of food produced globally is wasted. Citing the Food Sustainability Index, the report said Australia is the fourth highest food-wasting country in the world. The National Food Waste Baseline report found Aussies chucked out the equivalent of 298kg of food waste a year across the food supply and consumption chain in 2016-17.

Glenn Wealands, Head of Client Experience at Rabobank Australia said food waste is one of the most significant challenges facing both Australia and the world.

"When we waste food, the ramifications go far beyond just dollars, impacting our planet and precious resources," he said in a statement.

"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."

The company found that Australians don't connect their food waste to broader global issues like climate change. While 54% of Aussies acknowledge that food waste contributes to landfill, four in 10 link it to pollution and one third realise it increases CO2 emissions. Less than a third of Aussies link their waste to water shortages, climate change and animals becoming extinct.

And who are the biggest food wasters? Generation Z. Despite being the most socially aware generation, Gen Zers account for 19% of food wasted weekly. This is followed by Gen Y (17%), Gen X (11%) and the least food-wasting generation, baby boomers (7%).

When it comes to the food wasting states, Victoria reigns supreme, with 13.9% of food wasted by the average household, followed by Western Australia (13.3%).

But it's not all doom and gloom. Wealands said "there is hope" when it comes to food wastage. "We have some fantastic organisations in Australia that are committed to fighting food waste, such as OzHarvest, Foodbank and Yume," he said.

The report also mentioned ways to reduce waste such as growing or pickling vegetables.

While Wealands mentioned the government in France banning supermarket food waste in 2016 – with the food to be donated to charities or food banks – more can still be done in Australia.

"Ultimately, there must be a highlighted sense of urgency now, given we’re wasting more than ever before,” Wealands said.