Gen Y and Victorians are the biggest contributors to Australia's $9.6 billion of waste food each year

Monday, 06 November, 2017

The average Australian household wastes 14% of the food it procures every year. Reducing this wastage by half would result in $525 in savings, according to the RaboDirect 2017 Food & Farming Report.

Most of us (53%) consider ourselves to be ethically conscious consumers and 77% claim to care about changing their waste habits — but the waste is still piling up.

90% of households waste food every week. City dwellers are more wasteful, throwing away 16% of their food each week while regional/rural dwellers are thriftier, only throwing away 10%.

The worst offenders are Gen Y and Victorians (we have always been suspicious of these two groups :)).

  • Victoria (19%)
  • New South Wales (16%)
  • South Australia (13%)
  • West Australia (13%)
  • Northern Territory (12%)
  • Tasmania (4%)

Generationally, Baby Boomers (7%) remain least wasteful, with Gen Y (20%) demonstrating more wasteful actions than Gen Z (18%) or Gen X (11%).

The report, part of RaboDirect’s annual Financial Health Barometer, aims to shine a light on the issue of food waste in Australia and to help educate consumers on reducing waste, while saving dollars in the process. RaboDirect surveyed 2300 Australians, aged between 18 and 65, about their attitudes towards food and waste, savings and debt, as well as farming and resources.

Why are we wasting all this food?

  • 43% buy too much food
  • 82% of people who waste food indicate that food goes off before they can finish it
  • 28% never eat food past its ‘best before’ date
  • 10% won’t use leftovers

Our intentions are good

  • 80% believe in the importance of farmers for the wellbeing of the nation
  • 66% prefer to buy local produce and support local growers and are happy to pay more for it
  • 86% of Australians are concerned that fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets due to imperfections

Education is the key

Those who know hardly anything about food and farming production waste more than 20% of their food. However, those who know just a little bit about food production and farming reduce their waste levels to 11%.

Knowledge of food manufacture and farming is generational with 39% of Baby Boomers claiming some knowledge, Gen Y 29% and Gen X 23%.

What to do

Ways to reduce waste and support Australian farmers:

  • Purchase ‘imperfect’ fruits and vegetables at the grocery store and place them directly in the trolley rather than using multiple plastic bags. You’ll save money and the environment.
  • Make one night a week ‘leftovers night’ and get creative with your food waste. Aim to save $20 a week on the food you would have bought, depositing the additional cash into your high-interest savings account.
  • Consider where you spend your hard-earned money; shop at your local farmers’ market and read the labels on food for Australian and local products.

The full RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer Food & Farming Report including more statistics and segmented data can be downloaded here.

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