Foods Most Commonly Wasted in Australia — and Our Impact After 2 Weeks
Updated: Apr 16, 2019
Most Commonly Wasted Foods in Australia
With a steadily increasing amount of food being produced every year, food wastage has become a significant problem. In Australia, over $20 billion of food goes to waste, roughly translating to 1 in every 5 meals being thrown out by food retailers. Bring Me Home is actively working to reduce commercial food waste through its app, but also encourages everyone to be aware of how they can do little things to improve the situation. As such, a question often asked is what types of food are most likely to go to waste? The following are some of the most commonly wasted food items — combined with strategies that can be used on any average day to reduce wastage, as suggested by FoodWise Australia.
Bread is one of the most wasted foods. With it being so popular on a day-to-day basis in a variety of different meals, it’s easy to see why there would be a large surplus.
How to Reduce Wastage of Bread:
· Bread is best stored at room temperature in a cool spot on your benchtop.
· Ceramic breadbins are ideal, but for those that don’t have one, keep bread wrapped in a paper bag and tea-towel or in its original plastic.
· Lightly toasting older bread can make it taste very fresh.
· Bread stored in the fridge is likely to stale it faster than other methods.
· If not able to finish the bread, or you want to keep it for later, freezing it is a great option.
Being a regular fixture in most refrigerators, Milk often gets wasted simply due to timing — it has a short shelf life compared to other grocery items. Due to it being a staple food item, often new cartons of milk are bought before the previous ones are consumed.
How to Reduce Wastage of Milk:
· Store milk in the top shelves of the fridge, as here the temperature is more cold and stable whereas in the door it is often unstable — leading to a shortened lifespan.
· Only have milk outside the fridge while it is being poured.
· Older milk close to the use-by-date is still excellent when heated up and cooked into a sauce, used in baking, or made into a milkshake.
· Buy milk with a use-by-date furthest away from the day of purchase.
Bananas are one of the most commonly bought fruits — and their appealing yellow colour can often ripen rapidly to brown meaning they no longer look nice and end up going to waste.
How to Reduce Wastage of Bananas:
· Store at room temperature.
· Ripe, brown bananas are still perfectly good, in fact they have more healthy antioxidants and are easier to digest.
· Ripe bananas are excellent for baking things like banana cake & bread and making purees/milkshakes.
· Keeping bananas in an airtight space such as backpacks speeds up the ripening process significantly.
Chicken is Australia’s most popular meat, with an average of 43kg eaten per person every year — meaning that it is of utmost importance to reduce its wastage. Chicken is also a higher risk for food safety, and this means that a lot of the time it ends up being thrown out.
How to Reduce Wastage of Chicken:
· Always check label before purchase.
· Chicken can be stored in your fridge for up to 1–2 days.
· If not planning to use it within this time, chicken can be stored safely in the freezer up to 9 months with a clear label of when it was purchased.
· Chicken can be defrosted with water-tight packaging in cold water, or with appropriate defrost settings in microwave.
· Never defrost chicken on a counter-top.
· Washing chicken before cooking can actually increase bacteria spread.
· Leftover chicken can dry out when overcooked or kept in the fridge, and this can be fixed by using the chicken in a hearty soup or stew.
Our First Two Weeks
Most of Bring Me Home’s partners frequently use the ingredients previously mentioned, so we are excited to be contributing to a reduction in this waste in the first two weeks, along with our general positive impact in this time.
After many months of anticipation for our launch, on Monday the 20th August the long awaited Bring Me Home App went active, along with 30+ partner restaurants. Within a week, we have together saved over 90 meals from going to waste, and after two weeks, that number has skyrocketed to 150+, so we have been extremely thrilled about this. Our launch has definitely surpassed expectations!
We would like to share some of the reactions and testimonials of customers from these first two weeks. Most of the talk around the app has been about how it is a great way for students to save money while contributing to a more sustainable and food waste-free Australia.
Too good to be true?
'That’s what I thought when I first heard about this app. But once I got my first meal I was so excited that I was able to access such good food at these discounted prices.
I couldn’t believe the quality of the food and the fact you don’t know exactly what you are going to get honestly didn’t matter because the food selections have been great I should have expected that from Melbourne stores!
Now I don’t feel so guilty about eating out with my friends because I can afford so much more. Would definitely recommend anyone to give it a go.'
Good food not going to waste at last!
'So so happy that I can finally do something to save the good food that is otherwise thrown out! It has such a lovely interface, easily workable and some awesome deals to be scored for a student like me!'
To find out more about Bring Me Home, refer here. Along with reducing food waste, Bring Me Home is also working to reduce plastic waste, therefore we actively encourage everyone to bring their own reusable containers when redeeming a meal through the app.
Tristan Pokornyi is a sustainability-minded aspiring writer and startup marketer with a passion for photography and travel.