Aussies cut food wastage by $700m in 2018

Australia is in the world's top five for waste per capita - each person binning nearly 300kg a year. (AAP)

Australians binned an average $890 worth of food per household last year for a total annual wastage bill of $8.9 billion - the fourth highest on the planet.

Australians cut their total food wastage by $700 million in 2018 but experts say we are still buying too much from the shops and letting too much produce go off before it can be finished.

A survey of Australia's consumption habits by rural-focused lender Rabobank has revealed each household binned an average $890 worth of food last year for a total annual wastage bill of $8.9 billion.

Friday's survey showed Aussies are slowly improving their habits, with the 2018 wastage figure down seven per cent from $9.6 billion in 2017, but the country remains firmly in the world's top five for waste per capita - each person binning nearly 300 kilograms of food annually.

"While it is pleasing that Australian consumers are wasting less food compared to 12 months ago, there is clearly much to do to raise awareness about food production and waste and more urgently implement better practices to reduce waste," said Rabobank Australia's head of client experience Glenn Wealands.

The main culprit for food waste was food going off before it could be finished (75 per cent) while 45 per cent of Australians were buying too much at the shops.

About one in three admitted they wasted food because of insufficient meal planning.

Mr Wealands said cutting food waste was critical if the planet was to be able to feed a projected 9.2 billion people by 2050.

"For the current rate of consumption, we would need four planets by then," he said.

Meanwhile, Rabobank's global chairman Wiebe Dreijer said the big supermarkets also had a greater role to play.

"There is a massive amount of things that (retailers) currently throw out under the heading 'this cannot be sold' that many consumers would be happy to take," Mr Dreijer said.

He called for a single definition of ultimate 'date of use' labelling for food, and highlighted the effectiveness of initiatives such as active in-store pricing based on remaining shelf life.

A spokesperson for Coles said the supermarket worked closely with non-profit organisations SecondBite and Foodbank to reduce food waste and provide meals to people facing hardship by rescuing surplus, edible food from stores and distribution centres nationwide.

Woolworths said it had saved more than 54,000 tonnes of surplus food from going into landfill through their partnerships with hunger relief agencies, farmers and commercial composters.

The head of Rabobank Direct Bede Cronin said ultimately consumers would need to take ownership of the issue and affect change through their purchasing.

"The real momentum will come when consumers' attitudes and expectations come together with retailers realising they can reduce waste and still increase their bottom line by partnering with innovators and financial tech... and then government coming into bat," he said.

Source AAP

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