4 causes of food waste in Australian households

November 5, 2020

From the National Food Waste Baseline report, we now know which sectors of the food supply chain produce the most food waste in Australia. Aussie households are responsible for most of Australia's food waste, representing 34% of total annual food waste. Production and manufacturing stages closely behind.

These statistics are concerning, especially considering we can all easily reduce food waste at home with a few simple lifestyle changes. In this blog, we're exploring 4 major reasons food is wasted at home and give you tips on how you can reduce your waste.

1. Confusing food labels

Food labels can be misleading about whether food is still edible! Use by dates refer to when the food will become unsafe to eat. Best before dates on the other hand, are guides for when food quality and taste is not as good but still edible. As such, best before dates are more of a guide than an exact date of expiry. Use your nose, eyes and taste to tell if it's still good to eat!

2. Unfinished meals

Another major cause of food waste is unfinished meals that ultimately get thrown out. This is typically caused by oversized meal portions, or overestimating how much food to make. Getting to know your typical appetite and cooking accordingly will prevent this issue! Figuring this out will take some time, and is only learnt through experience. Try noting down how much you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner to get to know what your appetite is like throughout the day.

3. Storing food incorrectly

Additionally, be sure to store your food right! As best before dates are more of a guide for food expiry, how you store food will make all the difference in keeping food edible for longer. Organising and cleaning out your fridge regularly will help with preventing spoilt or spoiling foods from contaminating other foods. Fruit and veg in the pantry may also speed up ripening. Check out this guide we made that explains which fruit and veg should be stored together or apart! Don't forget what's hidden at the back of your fridge!

4. Buying too much

On average, Aussies waste about 13% of their weekly grocery shopping. That costs $1,204 annually, and can be prevented with more mindful shopping. Keep a list for what you already own at home and what you need to buy. Sticking by it will ensure that you don't purchase what you don't need!

Let's reduce food waste at home, wherever we can! These simple strategies can make all the difference in contributing to the national food waste problem