The average Australian household wasted about $890 worth of food last year, an improved figure on previous years, but still a staggering degree of wastage.
The 2019 Rabobank food waste report found we are doing better as potential wasters but there is till a huge way to go, and awareness is the key. Men and women are both equal in food wastage.
It found farmers are wising up to food wastage and becoming increasingly more innovative in making sure their products were used properly throughout the food chain. It also found regional Australians were less wasteful than city consumers, mainly because they appreciated the value of food more.
Rabobank also found its rural customers were quite resilient, with a third actively mitigating the severe drought.
The main findings of the report were:
The good news was that consumer habits were changing and there were many new innovative ideas coming forward on how to control waste from re-purposing thrown out food, to increasing shelf life and getting standardisation of use by dates. Packaging was also a critical issue.
Farmers were making sure little was wasted in their product line and were aware of the challenges.
Glenn Wealands, head of Rabobank's client experience, said Australia faced a massive challenge to control food waste as it had 5 per cent of the world's arable land and food pressures would grow.
He applauded farmers for showing innovation in the area. "Farmers are doing more to control waste," he said. "They are looking more deeply at what they can do to close the gap on wastage."
Rabobank's global chairman Wiebe Draijer said food waste was about one of the third biggest issues facing the planet. With the population growth the world needed four more planets to feed everyone, so innovation was very important. "We need to look at how we grow food in a healthy and sustainable way, to reduce effects on biodiversity and forests and that is a big, big challenge.
"Almost a third of food is wasted. Controlling food is an economic lever that is humungous. It its the third biggest lever we have to control carbon emissions."
Rabobank was funding innovative businesses in this waste space including factories that used cast-off ends of tomatoes from places such as McDonalds to produce tomato soup.
NSW was lagging behind other states in controlling food taste.
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